Children’s toys and a bike were strewn across the back lawn of a small white bungalow in a Manitoba town where police were investigating one of the scenes linked to the suspicious deaths of three children and two women on the weekend.
On Monday, police tape blocked off the front and backyard of the home in Carman and forensic crews with police could be seen going in and out. Police vehicles were parked in front of and behind the house.
It was one of three scenes officers were investigating as they worked to piece together how the deaths unfolded on Sunday.
It began when police were called to an area outside of the town of about 3,000 people, 85 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, early on Sunday morning for a report of a hit-and-run on Highway 3.
A woman was found lying dead in a ditch.
More than two hours later and 70 kilometres to the north, officers were called to a report of a burning vehicle and learned a witness pulled three children from it.
The children were pronounced dead and police took a 29-year-old man into custody at the scene.
Further investigation led officers to the home in Carman, where they found the body of another woman inside.
RCMP Insp. Tim Arseneault provided few details at a news conference on Sunday but said police believe all five of the dead and a suspect were known to each other.
He said it’s too early to determine what transpired between the dead and the suspect.
“We have teams and teams of investigators who are out there right now working on this and trying to get an understanding of what happened (and) why it happened,” he said Sunday.
He did not provide the ages of any of the dead or describe the relationship between them and the suspect.
Carman Mayor Brent Owen said he was devastated to learn of the deaths, adding he did not personally know those who died despite being familiar with about 80 per cent of the town’s residents.
He said he learned of the first death after receiving a text from a community member but didn’t fully grasp the scope of what happened until hearing details from police.
“It’s horrific. You get five people from our community and three children. Unimaginable,” he said, adding his own condolences to friends and relatives.
Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew shared condolences to those affected in a message on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter
“Sending comfort and strength to the families and community of Carman during this challenging time of loss,” wrote Kinew
Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham, who grew up in Carman, also shared condolences on X. He said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news.
“My sincere condolences to the community and the families impacted by this tragedy,” Gillingham said Sunday.
RCMP are to hold a news conference about the case later Monday in Winnipeg.
Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.