Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

A GRIM JOB – RCMP officers work at a site north of the Old Alaska Highway, west of Whitehorse, in June 2017. The location was where the body of Adam Cormack, 25, was discovered. He was one of eight homicide victims in the Yukon recorded in 2017, the highest number since 1961. Inset Angel Carlick, left, Tracy-Anne McPhee

‘When is there going to be any justice?’

It’s been more than decade since 19-year-old Angel Carlick went missing and was found dead,

By Taylor Blewett on March 7, 2018

It’s been more than decade since 19-year-old Angel Carlick went missing and was found dead, six months later, in a wooded area in the Pilot Mountain subdivision north of Whitehorse.

The circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery.

“She just took a piece when she left,” Santana Taylor told the Star Tuesday.

“Angel was my best friend, more like a sister, most of my life.

“And then for us not to know who the hell did it, like, that person’s still walking around out there.

“It’s not easy for any of us.”

The Yukon government announced with its 2018-2019 budget that it’s funding the creation of a Historical Case Unit.

The RCMP “M” Division will receive $442,000 annually, for the next three years, to investigate unsolved homicides and cases of missing persons.

Three additional, full-time RCMP officers will be charged with this work.

“Our goal is to bring these investigations to successful conclusions, and ultimately, to provide answers to the families of the victims,” Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard said in a statement released Tuesday.

Since 2000, there have been 35 homicide investigations in the Yukon.

Criminal charges have been laid in 23 of them.

Twelve homicides are unsolved, and are the subject of ongoing criminal investigations.

The new unit will review every unsolved homicide and missing persons case in the territory that the RCMP has on file, “with a proactive lens with the goal of surfacing fresh investigative avenues,” according to an emailed statement attributed to Insp. Keith MacKinnon, the Whitehorse RCMP detachment commander.

“After a review of each file, decisions to proceed will be based on the suitability and assessment of the evidence available.”

Both Angel's death and the 2017 death of her mother, Wendy Carlick, are classified by the RCMP as homicides.

Both remain unsolved.

“It doesn’t end for me,” Taylor said. Wendy was “like a mom” to her. But these losses affect a whole community, she emphasized.

“It’s just another case on the shelf, unsolved. There’s so many, it’s just ridiculous. What is this town coming to? When is there going to be any justice?”

According to MacKinnon, barriers to the resolution of unsolved homicides in the territory can include the perishability of evidence, a lack of evidence, or witnesses who are reluctant or unavailable to speak to police.

Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee announced details about the Historical Case Unit in the legislative assembly on Tuesday.

“We are sensitive to the pressures put on the RCMP and other service providers due to the very unusual number of homicides that have recently occurred in the Yukon,” she said in a ministerial statement.

In a subsequent interview with the Star, she pointed out that in 2017 alone, there were eight recorded homicides in the Yukon.

“That’s an extremely unusual number,” McPhee emphasized.

In fact, it’s the highest number of murders recorded in a single year since 1961.

“These resources will go a long way to helping the RCMP conduct their investigations effectively and efficiently,” she told the house.

In addition to investigating historic cases, the new unit will also be available, when necessary, to support the Major Crimes Unit in its work on suspicious deaths.

Its mandate also includes liaising with victims’ families, Yukon First Nations, and community organizations.

This is a critical piece for Taylor. She doesn’t feel the RCMP communicated with her enough about the investigations into the deaths of her loved ones.

“I want to be informed, and want to know what’s going on with this,” if renewed effort will indeed be put into solving Wendy and Angel’s cases, she said.

“I need to have a voice for my sister and my mom.”

The Yukon government and the RCMP will evaluate the success of the Historic Case Unit over the next three years, McPhee told the Star Tuesday.

According to MacKinnon, some indicators of success may include “charges laid, a missing person located, and increased engagement with families.”

NDP Leader Liz Hanson remarked yesterday that “each unresolved homicide – the sudden, violent death of a member of our small Yukon community – resonates deeply.”

She thanked McPhee for announcing resources for the new unit, adding that she hopes the March 1992 murder of her friend and colleague, Krystal Senyk, is being investigated.

Senyk was fatally shot in her Tagish Road cabin. The suspect in her death, Ron Bax, has never been found.

Yukon Party Justice critic Brad Cathers also said his party welcomes the funding investment.

“In fact, the only criticism that we would offer is that the minister has been slow in acting in this area,” he told the house.

The official Opposition raised the issue of pressure on the RCMP last May and again in July, he said, “recognizing that because of the recent spike in the number of homicides, it is placing an unsustainable workload on the RCMP and its members.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of victims of all homicides, including – and especially in this case – those which have not yet been solved.”

Funding for the new unit will start to flow April 1, MacKinnon stated.

“It will take some time to permanently staff this unit with resources that have the appropriate investigative skill set.

“In the interim, we will leverage existing expertise in the Division and will seek expertise to permanently supplement the unit.”

Comments (12)

Up 0 Down 0

Max Mack on Mar 13, 2018 at 5:42 pm

An uncomfortable truth is that many of these "homicides" are overdose victims or otherwise "unnatural" deaths. The RCMP seem to be using a broader definition of what constitutes "homicide" than what they have used in the past. This change in policy is, in part, responsible for the spike in numbers.

With the money in play and additional resources, etc, I'm beginning to wonder if all is not as it seems.

Up 0 Down 0

Frank the tank. on Mar 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Also. Worth noting on the national missing women inquiry. Not saying the victims they are looking into don’t deserve justice(obviously that is ludicrous) But aboriginal men are almost 3 times as likely to be murdered than aboriginal women. As well non-aboriginal male homicides are at the lowest average solve rate nationally at 53%. While aboriginal male homocides are at and average 83% solve rate. The solve rate for aboriginal females and non-aboriginal female are 86% and 85% respectively.
Not quite what the normal media would depict is it?
All this from a 2 minute research session...that’s the tip of the iceberg.

Up 0 Down 0

Frank the tank. on Mar 13, 2018 at 11:57 am

Travel anywhere in Canada...or the world and residents say the same thing about their local police force. Guess what they say? They are useless or incompetent blah blah blah. The grass is always greener right? Not because it can be an impossible and thankless job though right?

Yes police in Canada, the Yukon, and whitehorse are terrible...the system is corrupt and terrible right? Name me a city in Canada you’d rather be arrested. Name me a country you’d rather be arrested in... Russia? Egypt? Turkey? Brazil? Cuba? USA? How about North Korea?

23 of 35. That is a solve rate of 65.7%. Let’s round up to 66%. The National homicide solve rate in Canada is 67% for 2016. Only on CSI, or Law & Order is the solve rate 100%. It’s not calculating taxes...only 2 people generally know what happened...one is sadly no longer here. The other has a vested interest in not being honest. Largely anyone else that may know doesn’t come forward for various reasons or
Lies. To find out what happened and be able to prove it...I’d say 66% is pretty good.

Once again. 66%. National average 67%. The more you know.

Up 0 Down 0

Let's crack down on petty crimes too. on Mar 12, 2018 at 9:49 am

I agree with everyone who says that they can't catch a killer if no one will talk. It's so true! And even if they are caught, then what? Nothing happens to them except their name gets tarnished in the local paper and they are out in a couple years. What happened to 25 years ("life") in prison?

I would also like to see more done with the smaller crimes. No one, or their items, are safe anymore. Why should people be punished for earning and buying stuff they want so that someone else can go and steal or ruin it? And then those people don't even get looked at anymore and the innocent are told to go through insurance. Um, insurance costs money and then goes up because you make a claim and it rarely covers the cost of what was yours in the first place. Again, punishing the victims.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, since you can literally get away with murder here, people are going to start doing vigilante justice and take things in to their own hands.

Up 5 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on Mar 9, 2018 at 11:27 pm

It is not just Whitehorse, but all over the country.. Canada has become a haven for "criminal rights"... a criminal can be let off any number of serious crimes.. a man got off of sexual assault charges by saying he didn't know it was against the law, and then blamed it on Canada for not telling him. https://www.pressreader.com/canada/calgary-herald/20170624/281633895242973
And murder? Does everyone know how the Gladue defence came into being? https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/supreme-court-of-canada-asked-to-let-acquittal-stand-in-cindy-gladue-case/article36417359/ This murdered woman was an intoxicated prostitute which contributed to the acquittal for her murderer. I have said many times, and most recently, that no matter what a person has done, it's not ok for another person to kill...many posters thought that because they were both bad men.. one was deserving.. we don't get to pick and choose who it's ok to kill... these are just 2 of hundreds of thousands of criminal activities from shoplifting to murder, for which no one pays a price.
Trudeau's stand of 'we'll just rehabilitate everyone' encourages lackluster performance from courts and law enforcement.. my idea of justice, may not be another persons conception... but, no one is safe.. the police cannot protect us.. and if you cannot protect yourself.. you are a target.. someone is watching your home, checking out when you leave.. what kind of security you have.. someone else is on the corner selling crack.. and someone.. someone is taking the life of another human being.

Up 2 Down 0

moe on Mar 8, 2018 at 10:31 pm

I agree with Randy. We don't pay RCMP over a hundred thousand a year to write speeding tickets, and they don't seem to have the time or interest in working 'the beat'. Why not hire one less RCMP, and with the money saved hire two 'beat cops', thereby releasing two RCMP from simpler jobs so they can maybe solve these crimes?

But I agree, it's people talking that almost always is how murderers are caught. Someone knows who did it and tells someone. There's always a chance that in this case, that is not how it is.

Condolences - it is still just as sad 10 years later. And now there's her mom too. It's too much.

Up 3 Down 3

Randy on Mar 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Most jurisdictions have more than a single level of policing going on. In Toronto for example you would have the RCMP, the OPP and Toronto city cops. Not comparing the 'Horse to TO but clearly the RCMP are not capable of single handedly enforcing the law in the Yukon.

I think if the RCMP just took over the major crimes and create a Territorial force that enforced lesser crimes and traffic laws.

Up 4 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Mar 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm

I read elsewhere that the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is asking the Canadian government for two more years to complete its good work. Perhaps this situation in the Yukon could be a case study and it might be dragged out to perhaps 5 years? Think of what could be learned with their present rate of progress.
I wish the RCMP greater success in their investigations and inquiries. And just maybe some who do know important facts in these matters will show some real courage and humanity and share what they know with authorities.

Up 10 Down 1

jc on Mar 7, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Can't blame the Mounties. They try to do their jobs. Its hard to work among closed mouths.

Up 2 Down 0

BnR on Mar 7, 2018 at 8:09 pm

“It’s just another case on the shelf, unsolved. There’s so many, it’s just ridiculous. What is this town coming to? When is there going to be any justice?”

The justice process is already in motion. It will culminate in the trial of an accused. Until there's an accused, the process is at a standstill.
What are the police supposed to do? Just go and arrest some random suspect for revenge?

Up 6 Down 0

Josey Wales on Mar 7, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Very good question...when.
Not much shocks me, but I am very disturbed by the pile of corpses in the last few years...created by scumbags unknown and unaccounted for.
Considering our gossip lines up here are terabytes quicker than anything Northwestel offers, yet nobody knows anything?
I call BS, our Mounties cannot solve crime if folks refuse to help them.
I am not suggesting a serial killer is amongst us, actually it is worse.
I am suggesting multiple scumbags are however responsible for the many homicides. Personally I feel this is a worse case, as it increases the odds that those persons...scumbags actually, I elude to coming into contact with anyone of us.
Good tips lead to good evidence which in turn aids a good investigator resulting in hopefully a good case.
With the ultimate goal of a sense of justice for those family, friends and community members who care about the loss of their family, friends, and fellow citizens.
A breakdown of any of those things required, even factoring in the courts?
There is no justice for anyone, and predating scumbags roam free.
When...is a very good question.

Up 9 Down 0

drum on Mar 7, 2018 at 5:18 pm

In my humble opinion people know who have done all the killings in the First Nation community but they will not talk to the police.

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