An Indigenous community in southwestern Ontario devastated by the killings of three of their members, including a woman who was seven months pregnant, issued an emotional plea for public help Thursday, calling on anyone with information about the case to come forward.
The slayings involved a close-knit trio from Six Nations of the Grand River. Their bodies were discovered earlier this month about 120 kilometres west of their community.
Police were tight-lipped about the deaths, saying they could not share most details for fear of compromising the joint investigation between the provincial force and officers with the Indigenous community.
But Trevor Miller, brother of 37-year-old victim Melissa Miller, appealed to the public to share any information on the case while tearfully outlining the impact of the deaths on his family.
“This did not need to happen,” Trevor Miller said moments after police disclosed that his sister was seven months pregnant with a baby boy at the time of her death. “Somebody, come forward. I’m losing a nephew I never even met now.”
OPP Det. Insp. Peter Liptrott said officers were first called on Nov. 4 after receiving reports of a pickup truck abandoned in a privately owned field in Middlesex Centre, Ont.
When police arrived on the scene, he said officers found three bodies “with the truck,” though he declined to elaborate on the exact location.
The victims were later identified as Melissa Miller, 33-year-old Alan Porter and 32-year-old Michael Jamieson.
Six Nations police acting Deputy-Chief Darren Montour said Miller and Porter were cousins, while Porter and Jamieson were “inseparable friends.”
Police did not disclose the time, location, or cause of death for the three victims. Liptrott said that the grey Chevrolet pickup truck found with the bodies was stolen, but declined to share when or from where it had been taken.
Sheri-Lyn Hill Pearce of the Six Nations Band Council said the deaths have left the community reeling.
“Not just the families are suffering, it’s a rippling effect on the whole community,” Hill Pearce said. “It’s unacceptable, and … someone does know something.”
The sentiment was echoed by Jock Hill, one of Jamieson’s relatives, who said the victims had family members scattered throughout the Six Nations community who are all struggling to come to terms with what happened.
“We’re looking for justice,” he said of all three families. “We all feel the same way. This is not right. And by not sharing information, that’s not right.”
Police said they had no suspects in custody in relation to the case and have set up a tip line to solicit information from the public.
A poster campaign bearing the slogan “Find Our Killers” has already yielded some tips, Liptrott said, declining to say how many.
Investigators are hoping to find out more information about the victims, their activities leading up to their deaths, or sightings of the pickup truck at any point in its lengthy journey between the victims’ homes and the field where they were found, Liptrott said.