BACKGROUND - Delaine Copenace, such a beautiful and unusual name that is so sad to hear because of the shortness of her life, and the story behind it. The body of Delaine Copenace was discovered in Lake of the Woods at the end of Water Street in the City of Kenora by city employees on the morning of Mar.22, 2016, at 8 a.m.. An investigation that began Feb. 27, 2016, with a missing report about an Aboriginal woman, will be ongoing, in particular with the examination of forensic evidence and a court ordered autopsy. First she was one of Canada's missing Aboriginal females, now she's another one of Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women.
The examination will take place at the Office of the Chief Coroner and Forensic Pathology Services located in Toronto, date not yet determined.
The family said to the media, “(We) the family of Delaine Copenace would like to thank everyone for the continuous support and prayers. At this time, Delaine’s loved ones are asking that their privacy be respected as they take some time together to grieve the devastating loss of their daughter, sister and granddaughter and friend."
Copenace went missing Feb. 27, and the family sought the assistance of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection upon filing the missing person's report, which organization offered condolences as news arrived that Delaine Copenance's body was found, this discovery almost a month later.
"(CCCP) would like to offer its sincerest condolences to the Copenace and Ross families for their loss of Delaine. Our thoughts are with them, their friends and community today," said the statement. "Our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who assisted in the search for Delaine. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) worked tirelessly in their efforts and the investigation continues."
The CCCP website (https://www.protectchildren.ca) says, "The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is dedicated to the personal safety of all children. We offer a number of programs, services and resources for Canadians to help them protect children and reduce their risk of victimization."
Anida and Tony Copenace received support from the organization that also had a dialogue with OPP. The 16-year-old Delaine Copenace, Onigaming First Nation community member, had been an active missing person file. The investigation of her death continues under the direction of the OPP North West Region Crime Unit, Detective Inspector Randy Heida of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, in charge.
The OPP Forensic Identification Services Unit has been engaged in the investigation. Police had called off the ground search for Copenace on Mar 14.
At this time the OPP would not discuss the evidence of foul play or any details related to the scene where the body was discovered. Friends of the Copenace family had posted missing person posters of Delaine Copenace in Kenora. "It was sad today because her sister came in here and she asked us to take down the sign," said Brian Ostaff, restaurant owner in Kenora and friend of the family.
An organization called the Bear Clan Patrol from North End Winnipeg, pitched in to look for Delaine in Winnipeg. "It's another tragedy in our community. It's not our community here in Winnipeg, but our community at large in Canada, that we've lost another youth," Bear Clan Patrol founder James Favel said to media.
Favel was encouraged by public response to the missing girl. "It shows people were paying attention, people did get the message. Terrance Nelson, of southern Manitoba, wrote, "I did not know Delain Copenace, but what a tragedy. My own tobacco will be ofered so that Delaine's journey home is a swift one," which he declared globally on Facebook.
Tips or information can be provided to OPP at 1-888-310-1122.