Police in at least two Canadian cities say they are exploring possible links between the killings of three aboriginal women in Manitoba and unsolved cases in their communities.
Police in Gatineau, Que., say they plan to contact authorities in Winnipeg about any links between an unsolved murder from 2006 and the killings of three aboriginal women in Manitoba.
Kelly Morrisseau, a 27-year-old mother of three, died on Dec. 10, 2006, shortly after she was found naked and bleeding from stab wounds in a Gatineau Park parking lot.
Morrisseau, who lived in Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood but grew up on the Sagkeeng First Nation, north of Winnipeg, was working as a prostitute and was seven months pregnant at the time of her death.
The police investigation into her death attracted renewed attention this week after Winnipeg police charged Shawn Lamb, 52, with three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of three aboriginal women — Tanya Nepinak, 31, Carolyn Sinclair, 25, and Lorna Blacksmith, 18 — all of whom disappeared in the last year.
The similarities between the victims and the circumstances of their deaths prompted Gatineau police to look into whether there is any connection with their own case.
Gatineau police spokesman Sgt. J.P. Lemay said the lead investigator in the Morrisseau case will look for any connections with the Winnipeg cases.
Vigils, rallies held
Lemay added that the Morrisseau case has never been considered a cold case and that police still receive tips related to her death.
On Tuesday night, people gathered in Gatineau Park, at the site where Morrisseau was found, to hold a vigil for missing young aboriginal women.
Algonquin elder Annie St-Georges said she hoped the vigil opens the eyes of people in power.
"I think that the police should take this more seriously and not lightly and our leaders also," said St-Georges.
A similar vigil was held in Winnipeg on Tuesday to remember Sinclair, Nepinak and Blacksmith, as well as other missing and slain women in Manitoba.
At least 100 people rallied Wednesday evening outside Winnipeg's Remand Centre, where Lamb is in custody.
Members of Nepinak's family, who organized the rally, said they decided to hold it outside the remand centre in part because they believe Lamb knows where her body is located.
The bodies of Sinclair and Blacksmith have been located, but Nepinak's body has never been found.
"We're just hoping that this man at the Remand Centre speaks up and tells us where Tanya is. That's all I want," her father, Bert Nepinak, told CBC News.
Unsolved case in Alberta
Lamb spent time in Alberta in the late 1980s and early '90s, and RCMP say at least one unsolved case of a missing woman was reported during that time.
Edmonton RCMP Staff Sgt. Gerard MacNeil said it is key that police forces share their intelligence because serial killers are difficult to catch.
"It can be very hard. They're usually transient and the victims, unfortunately, don't have the type of supports that you and I enjoy," he said.
"Once again, we see the marginalized and vulnerable in society are being victimized, which is the most common trait of serial offenders," he added.
There are about 80 cases of missing and murdered women in Alberta, MacNeil said.
Sarnia police review Lamb visit
Meanwhile, police in Sarnia, Ont., say they are looking into what Lamb did when he visited the city within the last month, shortly before he was arrested.
The Sarnia Police Service said Lamb, a former resident, had returned there in late May to seek out extended family.
Investigators learned that Lamb left Sarnia on June 20, a day before he was arrested in Winnipeg, police said in a release Wednesday.
The police service said its criminal investigations branch is investigating Lamb's visit, but there is no indication at this time that he took part in any criminal activity.
Winnipeg police refused to publicly release any details on Wednesday about their investigation of Lamb.