Saskatchewan stabbings suspect Myles Sanderson reportedly made a final “goodbye” trip to visit friends and family in Regina after carrying out one of the deadliest mass killings in Canadian history.
The suspect remains at large as a province-wide manhunt entered its fourth day, with police saying that they no longer believe he is in Regina or James Smith Cree Nation, where a majority of the 13 attack sites were reported on Sunday.
“Today we received information that was leading us to believe he may no longer be in this community,” said Regina Police Chief Evan Bray in a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
The intel that the force had originally received about Myles Sanderson still being in Regina seems to have stemmed from an initial sighting on Sunday that placed him in the front seat of a black Nissan Rogue on Arcola Avenue, a main thoroughfare that cuts through the city’s east end.
That call came in at 11.40am, approximately six hours after the first 911 calls were placed at James Smith Cree Nation, which is more than a three-hour drive away from where he was reportedly later seen on Sunday.
A new report from The Daily Beast could shed more light on that sighting, with unnamed sources close to the manhunt saying they believe the 30-year-old suspect had driven into Regina to make a round of goodbyes to family and friends and “to see [those Regina connections] for the last time”.
“If Myles Sanderson was alive and being harboured somewhere by someone, we’d know about it by now,” one of the unnamed sources told The Daily Beast, noting beforehand that they suspect that it’s possible that the 30-year-old had died by suicide.
(Tiaraa Twist via Facebook)
The on-the-run suspect’s brother, Damien Sanderson, was found dead Monday morning from wounds that did not appear to be self-inflicted, police said. His body was recovered in a heavily grassed area of the James Smith Cree Nation near a house that police were examining.
When pressed about whether they believed the injuries that Damien succumbed to were delivered by his brother, who police said earlier has a lengthy criminal history that included incidents of violence, authorities remained cagey.
“It is an investigative avenue that we are following up on, but we can’t say that definitively at this point,” said Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP.
Law enforcement agencies, coroners and investigators donning white hazmat suits remained sprawled throughout the otherwise quiet and tight-knit communities of Weldon and James Smith Cree Nation into Tuesday.
Canadian law enforcement personnel rush to surround a home on the James Smith Cree First Nation reservation in Saskatchewan, Canada, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, as they search for a suspect in a series of stabbings
That relative calm that had seemed to fall on the two towns since the carnage unfolded on Sunday was once again disrupted late in the afternoon on Tuesday when the RCMP sent out another dangerous persons alert that warned of a possible sighting of Myles on the Indigenous reserve.
Tactical units descended on the community that had only just begun to pick up the pieces of the devastation that ripped through their front doors on Sunday.
Investigators examine the crime scene outside the home of Wes Petterson in Weldon, Saskatchewan, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022
Ms Blackmore confirmed in a briefing after the alert was sent that several homes in the area were “cleared” where the authorities thought he had been sighted and they had also conducted aerial and ground searches of the reserve’s perimeter to no avail.
A follow-up alert sent a couple hours after the first one was deployed on Tuesday confirmed that police had found no evidence of Myles returning to the scene where 10 people lost their lives on Sunday, and they later said they no longer believed that he was hiding out in the James Smith Cree Nation or Regina.
“Early on Sunday we had information that proved to be reliable that Myles Sanderson was in our community and that as a result, the Regina Police Service was assisting the RCMP in trying to locate him,” Chief Bray said in a Twitter address on Tuesday, before conceding that that though investigators “don’t know his whereabouts”, the Regina police are continuing to assist with this RCMP-led investigation.
Authorities will continue to search for Myles “not only within the city of Regina but expanding into the province as well”, he added.
Both Myles and his dead brother, Damien, are charged with counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and breaking and entering.
A source close to the investigation also reported to The Daily Beast that though the death tally is currently at 11, including one of the suspects, they are continuing to search the surrounding fields on James Smith First Nation “to see if they find more [victims].”