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Manitoba RCMP say 3 children and 2 women dead, man in custody

Police say circumstances of deaths are separate but connected
Insp. Tim Arseneault, operations officer, RCMP major crime services speaks to the media about an ongoing investigation in Winnipeg on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. RCMP say they are investigating the suspicious deaths of three children and two women in southern Manitoba. THE CANADIAN PRESS / David Lipnowski

Police extended condolences to residents of a small Manitoba town on Sunday as they launched a probe to determine how three children and two women died in separate but connected circumstances.

RCMP Insp. Tim Arseneault provided few details at a hastily called news conference but said police believe all five of the dead and a suspect were known to each other.

A 29-year-old man is in custody, but there was no immediate word on what charges he may face.

Arseneault said residents in the town of Carman, Man., where one of the victims was found, were grieving as they tried to come to grips with the deaths of some of its youngest members. The community of about 3,000 people is located 85 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.

“I want to express my condolences to the families and friends who have lost a loved one today,” Arseneault said. “As a parent, I simply cannot imagine the enormity of your loss. Please know that the RCMP and everyone in Manitoba stands with you.

“The community of Carman and surrounding areas will also be grieving as they have lost some of their youngest residents in such a tragic way.”

Arseneault said the five dead were found at three separate scenes.

Police located the first at 7:30 a.m., when they were called to a reported hit-and-run on Highway 3, about six kilometres south of Carman. The body of a woman was in a ditch near the side of the road, Arseneault said.

The next call came in to RCMP at around 10 a.m. about a vehicle on fire some 70 kilometres to the north in the Rural Municipality of Cartier.

“As officers were going to the scene, a witness was able to pull three young children from a burning vehicle,” Arseneault said. “Tragically all three children were declared deceased at the scene.”

Arseneault said the suspect was arrested at the site of the blaze.

He said further investigation then led officers to a home in Carman, where they found the body of another woman inside.

Arseneault did not provide the ages of any of the dead or describe the relationship between them and the suspect.

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Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press