Autopsies show two teenagers whose bodies were found in northern Alberta this week were the victims of homicide. Dylan Laboucan, 17, and Cory Grey, 19, were both shot, according to the Edmonton Medical Examiner.
The two teens, who were residents of Whitefish Lake First Nation, were reported missing Saturday night.
High Prairie RCMP said Laboucan’s body was found Monday at 7:40 p.m. and Cory’s body was discovered Tuesday afternoon.
RCMP said they have a significant amount of evidence and believe the homicides weren’t random.
RCMP also commended the community for their search efforts.
“If not for the tireless efforts of the community members and their participation in the search of the rural area outside High Prairie, it is unlikely the bodies of both victims would have been located as early as they had been,” RCMP said in a news release.
READ MORE: Missing teens in northern Alberta found dead: family
The chief of the Whitefish Lake First Nation said the northern Alberta community is reeling after the deaths of the two teenagers.
Pearl Auger, Laboucan’s great-aunt, said the family had been hoping for a different outcome.
“They were hoping and praying they would find their kids alive. They were hoping for a miracle,” she said.
Auger said Laboucan’s body was found approximately four kilometres away from his mother’s trailer.
She said his death is devastating – the teen had just graduated from Grade 12.
“[His mom] said he was a good boy. He would never hurt anyone nor do wrong to anyone. His hope was to be an NBA player one day,” she said.
Her father Louis Grey said his daughter’s body was discovered by a member of the community in the vicinity of an old oil well site about two kilometres from where he lives.
Cory’s older sister Sara Grey said her death is devastating.
“It’s just unbelievable she was found in that condition. She’ll never be home again,” she said.
“She was an awesome person. She didn’t deserve any of this. She loved kids. She liked being outside. She liked her naps.”
Sara Grey said her sister had never run away and was quite mature for her age.
“It’s devastating for everyone. I think everyone is taking it pretty hard.”
“It’s very, very hard on [the community],” said Chief Robert Grey, who is also Cory’s uncle.
“It’s not too bad now because now they’re not wondering – the bodies have been found. It’s a great big impact on Whitefish because something like this never happens in Whitefish.”
Chief Grey said approximately 1,700 people live in the community.
“It’s a very, very hard thing because of how close people are related, how close the community is. It’s a shocker,” he said.
Chief Grey said crews had searched the two locations where the teens’ bodies were found but only found them after searchers combed the area a second time.
“It’s a mystery. We’re still wondering what really happened. [People] are kind of scared.”
RCMP officers were called to Laboucan’s parents home Saturday night for an unconscious man.
“This male had been found by a family member, injured, near a residence and when that male went to find some help… when he returned, this male was gone,” RCMP Insp. Gibson Glavin said Tuesday.
“Clearly, there are some unusual things about this that we definitely know – been injured at some point – so with the help of the medical examiner [Wednesday], an autopsy should be able to help us out with how he died and … if we’re looking into a criminal investigation or not.”
Louis Grey said the person who found Laboucan unconscious was afraid, which is why he decided to go get help.
“That guy sort of panicked,” Louis said. “He was scared to go into the trailer – no sign of my daughter, so he went next door to another residence… to go phone 911.”
When they got there, they couldn’t find Dylan or Cory and search parties began looking for the pair.
Sara Grey said the pair had been dating for nearly two years and lived together.
She said they had both been accepted to college in September – Dylan as an engineering technician and Cory as a pre-school teacher.
Whitefish Lake First Nation is roughly 90 kilometres northeast of High Prairie, Alta. It is 320 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, near Slave Lake.
-with files from Sarah Kraus, Emily Mertz, Phil Heidenreich
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