Advancements in DNA Technology Aids in Arrest of Suspect in Decades-Old Homicide Case
Attawapiskat, ON – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) has made a significant arrest in a nearly 50-year-old homicide case from 1973 in Attawapiskat, shedding light on a long-standing community mystery.
The Unsolved Mystery: On October 23, 1973, Helen Carpenter, who was 21 years old at the time, was found deceased. Despite the investigation carried out then, no charges were filed, leaving the case cold and the community seeking answers.
Revival of the Case: The case witnessed a revival in late 2019, following the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry. The OPP’s Criminal Investigation Branch rekindled the investigation, dedicating a Major Case Manager along with other crucial resources. The North East Region Crime Unit and the OPP Forensic Identification Service played instrumental roles, with the investigation also being conducted in tandem with the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.
Arrest and Charges: Fast forward to October 25, 2023, Remi Gregory Iahtail, 78, of Attawapiskat was arrested by the OPP, marking a monumental step in this decades-old case. Iahtail has been charged with Manslaughter and Rape, as per the 1973 Criminal Code. He is set to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Attawapiskat on November 22, 2023.
A Community’s Long-Awaited Answers: The arrest brings a semblance of closure to the community and the family of Helen Carpenter who have been tormented with unanswered questions for 50 years. Detective Inspector Shawn Glassford of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch remarked, “With the advancement of DNA technology and a focused investigation, the OPP have made an arrest in this case. The family and community can now learn the truth about what happened in 1973. Our thoughts are with Helen’s family and the entire community.”
Judicial Process Underway: As the case progresses to the courts, the OPP has refrained from elaborating on the evidence or investigative processes that culminated in the arrest.
This landmark arrest underscores the leaps in forensic technology and the unwavering commitment of law enforcement agencies to bring justice, no matter how much time has elapsed since the crime. The community of Attawapiskat, especially the family of Helen Carpenter, now await the unfolding of truth in the courtroom come November 22.