Other jurisdictions are assisting Yukon RCMP with an unprecedented number of homicides in the territory.
The territory’s RCMP say they are working at full capacity investigating eight homicides over the last 11 months.
“It’s a significant amount of work and not just for the Major Crimes Unit; these investigations draw on departments from across the territory,” RCMP Supt. Brian Jones told the Star this morning.
This includes scene security, follow-up interviews and forensics.
“There are significant pressures on everyone, notwithstanding the families of the victims who are directly impacted but the families of our officers as well,” Jones added.
British Columbia RCMP and major crimes investigators and Special Tactical Operations from Alberta are also assisting with the multitude of investigations.
Since April, there have been four homicide victims in the territory.
Last year, there was a total of four, while in 2015 there was one. There were three in 2014.
Police became aware of the latest homicide Wednesday evening.
The body of a 25-year-old Whitehorse man was found north of the Old Alaska Highway heading toward Haines Junction. Police have yet to release the man’s name for investigative reasons.
RCMP also continue to investigate the murder of Greg Dawson, 45. His body was found April 6 in a Riverdale home.
And the double-homicide of Wendy Carlick, 51, and Sarah MacIntosh, 53. The two women were found April 19 at MacIntosh’s home in the McIntyre subdivision.
Also under investigation is the October 2016 homicide of Matthew Devellano, 32, in Porter Creek. He was shot outside a residence at Stan McCowan Place and rushed to Whitehorse General Hospital, where he died of his injuries.
There are currently four cases before the Yukon courts where accused persons stand charged with murder.
“It’s a positive development, but it doesn’t mean we’re done with them in any stretch of the imagination,” Jones said of investigations where charges have been laid.
“These eight homicides have had an impact, and there’s lots and lots of work to be done on all of those files.”
Darryl Sheepway, 38, is set to stand trial Nov. 6 for the murder of Christopher Brisson, 25.
Brisson had been reported missing for three days before his body was found near Miles Canyon on Sept. 1, 2015.
In March, Sheepway sought to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown would not accept a plea to a lesser charge.
As well, Tristan Joe, 31, stands accused of the November 2016 murder of Raine Andrew Silas,18, in Pelly Crossing.
And, Alfred Thomas Chief Jr., 31, has been charged with the murder of Olsen Wolftail, 87, at a Watson Lake residence in December 2016.
Finally, Travis Dennis, 22, was charged with second-degree murder and committing an indecent act on a body in the death of Andy Giraudel, 36. Giraudel’s remains were found July 16, 2016 near Watson Lake.
While there has been an unusually high number of homicides in the territory, Jones said, the Yukon is still a safe place to live.
“With all of these investigations, the facts and the circumstances are unique and different,” he said, noting there is no overarching reason.
One case that has been closed is the July 2014 stabbing death of Tanner Sinclair, 37.
In February, Michael MacPherson, 34, pled guilty to manslaughter.
Originally charged with second-degree murder, MacPherson was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Two additional homicides remain unsolved.
In May 2014, Allan Waugh, 69, was found dead in his home in the McIntyre subdivision.
And in 2007, the remains of Angel Carlick, 19, the daughter of Wendy Carlick, were found in a forested area near the Pilot Mountain subdivision just north of Whitehorse.