A search for a missing young hockey player that brought hundreds of volunteers into the streets of Winnipeg has ended in tragedy, with the discovery of a concealed body and the laying of a second-degree murder charge.
Danny Smyth, Deputy Chief of Winnipeg Police Service said in a press conference Sunday that a body believed to be that of 17-year-old Cooper Nemeth was found hidden in a bin not far from where he was last seen alive, leaving a house party a week ago.
The disappearance of Mr. Nemeth, a popular player with the River East Marauders, triggered a massive search, with volunteers walking back alleys and going from yard to yard in the city hoping to find him.
“It is with sadness that I’m here to report that a body was discovered on property on Bayne Crescent, not far from the party where Cooper was last seen. Investigators believe this is Cooper’s body although this still needs to be confirmed by medical examiners,” said Mr. Smyth.
“On behalf of the Police Service our thoughts and prayers go out to the Nemeth family,” he said. “Based on the preliminary examination of the injuries on Cooper’s body, investigators believe he was murdered. Investigators also believe that Cooper’s body was concealed in a sheltered area of the property on Bayne Crescent.”
Mr. Smyth said Nicholas Bell-Wright, 22, who had been questioned last week about the disappearance of Mr. Nemeth, was arrested at 4 a.m. Sunday, after he was found in a stolen car. He was charged with second-degree murder.
Mr. Smyth said the investigation is ongoing and declined to go into details, but did give a hint of motive, saying there appeared to be a drug connection to the case.
“I don’t know exactly what happened but I think it’s fair to say this is drug related,” he said. “I want to be sensitive to the investigation and that kind of detail will come out in due course.”