The Winnipeg Police Service held a press conference today announcing the arrest of a suspect charged with the killing of an Oxford House First Nations woman reported missing in August 2016.
The woman, identified as Christine Wood (21), was last seen on August 19, 2016 around 9 p.m. leaving a hotel in the St James Industrial neighbourhood.
She was never seen or heard from again.
The WPS Missing Persons Unit subsequently entered into an investigation into the woman’s disappearance.
In January, 2017, the WPS Homicide Unit took the lead in the case.
On March 21, 2017, a search warrant was executed at a residence in the 300 block of Burrows Ave where significant forensic evidence was discovered that advanced the case.
In fact, police remained at the residence for several days and subsequently came to the conclusion Wood had been murdered within the premise.
The resident, identified as Brett Ronald Overby (30), was interviewed at the time but was not charged in connection with Wood’s homicide.
(Overby was charged with an non-specified unrelated offence.)
Police Chief Danny Smyth indicated “key evidence” needed to be confirmed by forensic specialists before the case could move forward.
On April 6, 2017, the forensic evidence was confirmed and a senior official with Manitoba Justice authorized charges against Overby.
On April 7, 2017, Overby was charged with 2nd degree murder in connection with Woods death even though her body has never been recovered.
He was detained at the Provincial Remand Centre.
Homicide Sgt John O’Donovan indicated Wood and Overby were not known to each other prior the date of her death.
O’Donovan was at a loss to explain a motive for the killing but did indicate there was no evidence to suggest the killing was gang or drug related.
In response to a question from the media regarding the possibility Wood might still be alive O’Donovan replied, “I would say not one in a 20 trillion chance of her being alive.”
O’Donovan indicated police are still hopeful Wood’s body might still be recovered.
In 2016, by years end, the WPS reported a total of twenty-four (24) homicides in the City of Winnipeg.
Those numbers have changed;
- On February 18, 2017, the WPS issued a press release regarding the murder of Jennifer Barrett (42) of Winnipeg. Police believe she was killed in August of 2016. Police charged Perez Adaryll Cleveland (43) with 1st degree murder in her case.
- On April 10, 2017, the WPS held a press conference regarding the murder of Christine Wood (21).
The addition of these two cases increase the number of homicides reported in 2016 to twenty-six (26).
Three of those twenty-six cases remain unsolved – solvency rate = 88.46%.*
*One case from 2016 involves the death of two victims – should that case be solved the solvency rate would jump to 96%.
Manner of Death – 2016 Homicides
- Blunt Force – 11
- Stabbing – 6
- Shooting – 5
- Arson – 2
- Not Reported – 2
- Male – 19
- Female – 7