Kamloops Mounties to probe possible link to Winnipeg murders
Could an alleged serial killer arrested last week in Winnipeg — described as a drifter who travelled across Canada — be responsible for some of the missing and murdered women who have vanished from Kamloops' streets in recent years?
That's the question local Mounties are asking, and Kamloops RCMP Const. Bernie Ward said it's likely investigators on Battle Street will be in touch with their counterparts in Manitoba in the near future.
"We're tuned in to that stuff all the time," he said.
"It's a constant exchange of information."
Shawn Cameron Lamb is facing three second-degree murder charges in Winnipeg — accused of killing First Nations women Tanya Nepinak, Carolyn Sinclair and Lorna Blacksmith — in addition to a separate count of sexual assault.
Police believe the murders took place late last year.
Investigators described the 52-year-old suspect as "a drifter."
Media reports from Winnipeg have described the victims as prostitutes, but police have not confirmed that.
In Kamloops, Mounties are working on three unsolved murders involving prostitutes.
Most recently, 41-year-old Cassandra Wilson vanished on April 6. A month later, investigators said they believe she has been murdered, though she remains missing.
On April 9, 2005, a teenager walking through a vacant lot in North Kamloops discovered the bloodied body of 44-year-old Sheri Lee Hiltz.
A year earlier, a couple walking in Mission Flats happened upon the remains of 30-year-old Shana Labatte.
Ward said he couldn't speak to specifics, but noted police would typically work to determine a suspect's whereabouts over a period of years, then look for connections with other similar crimes.
"It's where he has been, where he is coming from," Ward said.
"Every opportunity, when somebody's picked up and has been travelling, is looked at.
"You can't leave your case undone until you know where this guy's been and where he's coming from. It's an absolute."
In 2005, two months after Hiltz's body was found, Mounties in Edmonton announced they were looking into a potential link between the murders of prostitutes in Kamloops and similar slayings in Alberta.
Lamb is believed to have lived in Alberta in the past.
Since his arrest, police in Edmonton have said they will be in contact with Winnipeg detectives.