Two people charged with being accessories after the fact to murder in connection with the May 6 death of Breanna Jane Menacho made brief court appearances on Tuesday.
Jordan Nande, 24, of Fort Liard and Lisa Brule, 21, of Yellowknife had their cases remanded to June 16, the same day Devon Larabie, 27, will make his next court appearance on a charge of murder.
In the interim, evidence is expected to be made available for defence lawyers to review. Crown prosecutor Blair MacPherson told the court the RCMP’s major crimes unit “is working on the investigation right now.”
Brule had not secured a lawyer by Tuesday’s appearance.
“I spoke to a lawyer on Wednesday,” she said, speaking via video link from the North Slave Correctional Complex and referencing May 13, the day she was arrested. “I don’t remember his name.”
Territorial Court Judge Donovan Molloy said he hoped she would have a lawyer soon.
“We’ll bring you back on June 16 … hopefully Legal Aid will be in touch with you,” he said.
“You look fairly afraid and uncertain about your situation, which no doubt you are.”
Councillor quizzes inspector over death
At the time of his arrest in connection with Menacho’s death, Larabie was separately on bail in connection with the armed robbery of a city convenience store in March.
Larabie had been released with conditions on March 20, before any releases from custody related to Covid-19 had been introduced. The Crown did not oppose his release.
Inspector Alex Laporte, Yellowknife’s RCMP detachment commander, appeared in front of city council’s Governance and Priorities Committee on Tuesday.
Councillor Stacie Smith said residents had questioned why Larabie was out on bail and asked Laporte to explain that.
Smith noted Menacho’s death came the day after the annual National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, also know as Red Dress Day.
“That speaks loud words,” Smith said to Laporte via video conference. “Many residents were very shocked and scared.”
Laporte said he could not comment in detail as the case is before the courts.
“I offer condolences to the family and the community,” said Laporte. “This is a very difficult situation for us, our members, and the community as a whole.
“We are one part of the criminal system. It’s very difficult for me to speak to other parts of the system.”
The Tłı̨chǫ Government stated online that Menacho was to be laid to rest on Tuesday in Yellowknife.
Police and search and rescue volunteers looked for any sign of Breanna on May 6 after she was reported missing the day prior.
A helicopter was brought in to help the search.
Later that evening, RCMP “were alerted to a residence” in an area of Forrest Drive and Franklin Avenue known as Lanky Court, where they found Breanna deceased.