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Human remains linked to 30-year-old homicide found in northern B.C.

Donna Charlie’s remains were located by a member of the public on Connaught Hill
Police announced Nov. 16, partial human remains found on Prince George’s Connaught Hill belong to Donna Charlie who was murdered in 1990. (City of Prince George)

WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers.

Partial remains of Donna Charlie, who was murdered in 1990, have been found near Prince George, the RCMP said today.

Prince George RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit entered into an investigation in October after human remains were located by a member of the public on Connaught Hill.

The police confirmed Charlie’s identity in a Nov. 16, statement and said the family of the victim has since been notified of this discovery.

“With the assistance of the B.C. Coroners Service, the RCMP is now in a position to publicly confirm that the human remains located are those of Donna Charlie, the victim of a 1990 homicide.

“Though this initial investigation resulted in a conviction, it remained an open file with our Missing Persons Unit until such time as the last of the remains were located,” said Cpl. Jennifer Cooper, Media Relations Officer for the Prince George RCMP.

Charlie hailed from Tsay Keh Dene Nation near Fort Ware in the remote interior of northern B.C. Jerry Smaaslet, her boyfriend, was convicted of manslaughter in 1995.

She was reported missing out of PG in September 1990. Based on archives from the Prince George Free Press, Charlie was last seen leaving Ingenika with Smaaslet on August 30, 1990.

In April 1991, the police located her headless body buried in a vacant lot near Sportsman Hotel in Prince George. However, while her head was never found, Smaaslet did testify to burying it on Connaught Hill.

In May 1991, Smaaslet was charged with the murder. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder but the conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal and a new trial ordered. In May 1995, Smaaslet pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

He was sentenced to one year in addition to the 38 months served, plus two years probation and a lifetime weapons prohibition.

Smaaslet was declared a “dangerous offender” in May 2007 by the court after several instances of violent, abusive actions against women.

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