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Attawapiskat woman's alleged killer charged in 50-year-old case

Helen Carpenter was 21 when she was killed in October 1973

ATTAWAPISKAT - Five decades after Helen Carpenter was found dead, police have charged a man with manslaughter. 

Carpenter was 21 when she was killed in Attawapiskat. She was found on Oct. 23, 1973. 

Nearly 50 years to the day, on Oct. 25, 2023, OPP charged Remi Gregory Iahtail, a 78-year-old from Attawapiskat, with manslaughter and rape. The charges are under the 1973 criminal code. 

"For 50 years the family of Helen Carpenter and the community of Attawapiskat have been seeking answers concerning Helen's death. Now, with the advancement of DNA technology and a focused investigation, the OPP have made an arrest in this case. The family and community can now learn the truth about what happened in 1973. Our thoughts are with Helen's family and the entire community," said Det.-Insp. Shawn Glassford, OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, in a news release.

Because the case is before the courts, the OPP says it can't elaborate on the evidence of the investigation that led to the arrest.

After the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, the OPP renewed the investigation into Carpenter's death in late 2019. A major case manager was assigned the case and worked with members of the North East Region Crime Unit and OPP Forensic Identification Service, said OPP.

The accused will appear in court in Attawapiskat on Nov. 22. 

None of the charges have been tested in court and the accused is considered innocent unless proven guilty.

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