A recent arrival to Fort Good Hope is wondering how to pick up the shattered pieces of her life after her partner of eight years and father to her two children fell victim to homicide earlier this month.
Lloyd Edgi, 28, was pronounced dead Sept. 3. RCMP have not confirmed the manner of his death.
Colten McNeely, a 24-year-old resident of Fort Good Hope, has been charged with murder. He is being held in Yellowknife where he briefly appeared in territorial court Sept. 7.
News/North spoke to Edgi’s partner Jeanette Tobac. She declined to speak on the circumstances surrounding his death but described Edgi as a loving father who was involved with the community. Tobac and their two children, two-year-old daughter Pazanne and five-year-old son Hunter, followed Edgi to Fort Good Hope from Fort Smith in April where he was apprenticing with Fort Smith Construction. Edgi is originally from Fort Good Hope.
Tobac said losing her long-time partner has left her shaken.
“(I don’t know what) to think right now,” Tobac said. “That’s how I feel, trying to live moment by moment. Even that’s hard.”
The couple had just recently completed the Race the Peel, a canoe race from Fort McPherson to Aklavik on June 28 this year.
“He was friends with people all over the NWT,” she said. “He was a very great dad and a great partner and an amazing all-season athlete. Hockey was his game, though. It was something we shared a passion about.”
Funeral arrangements for Edgi had not been released as of press time.
McNeely’s next court date is set for Sept. 19 where he is expected to appear via video.
Dressed in a grey T-shirt and jeans for his court appearance Sept. 7. McNeely did not speak during the brief hearing. He did nod to a man who was sitting in the courtroom. It was not entirely clear how that person is connected to McNeely.
Judge Bernadette Schmaltz ordered McNeely to not have any contact with 12 different people. It is not completely clear how those people are connected to the case and whether they may be witnesses.
Crown prosecutor Blair MacPherson told Schmaltz he opposes bail for McNeely. He also asked for a publication ban on evidence in the case but Schmaltz said it was too early in the proceedings to grant that.
Defence lawyers Kate Oja and Peter Harte both spoke on behalf of McNeely — Harte because he is representing McNeely in a completely separate case in Norman Wells. McNeely faces a charge laid in late July of being unlawfully in a dwelling house.
Harte said he expects that case will now be moved to Yellowknife from Norman Wells.
NWT Chief Coroner Cathy Menard said Edgi’s body has been sent to Edmonton for an autopsy.
The investigation continues, led by the RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit.
It is the second homicide in the past three and a half years in the community of little more than 500 people.
Keenan McNeely, 21, was convicted of first degree murder in the 2014 death of 24-year-old Charlotte Lafferty. He was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year with no parole for at least 10 years. McNeely was sentenced as an adult even though he was 17 years old at the time of the murder. He is appealing both the conviction and the sentence.
On Sept. 12, Supreme Court judge Louise Charbonneau is expected to release her decision on whether Keenan McNeely will serve his sentence in a federal prison down south or remain at an NWT correctional centre. The only reason she has that choice is because McNeely was a minor at the time of the offence. Lafferty’s mother Louisa Lafferty, who lives in Fort Good Hope, expects to be in the court in Yellowknife for that decision.
When asked by News/North, “So sad,” was all Lafferty had to say about the latest deadly violence in the community. It is not clear whether Keenan McNeely and Colten McNeely are related.
– with files from John McFadden