Cooper Nemeth, 17, who was missing in Winnipeg, has been found dead on Saturday night in the back lane of a home on Bayne Crescent in North Kildonan. The Winnipeg police confirmed the news at a press conference on Sunday, and have charged a 22-year-old man with a second-degree murder.
Nicholas Bell-Wright was arrested by Winnipeg police early morning on Sunday in The Maples in Winnipeg.
“Based on the preliminary examination of the injuries on Cooper’s body, investigators believe he was murdered,” said Danny Smyth, deputy chief of investigations with the Winnipeg Police Service. “Investigators also believe the body was concealed in a sheltered area.”
Bell-Wright, the man who has been arrested in charge of a murder does not have an extensive criminal record but has been found to be involved in an assault two year ago, the deputy chief of investigations said.
“It’s fair to say this was drug-related,” Smyth told reporters.
Cooper Nemeth was missing since a week before police found the dead body at the Bayne Crescent home on Saturday night. Nemeth disappeared after leaving a house party in the early morning hours of Valentine’s day and a massive community search was started to find the teen ager.
Nemeth’s body was discovered in a garbage bin and based on the injuries, Smyth considers it a murder. The body was first found by the homeowners who called the police right after.
House-owner Roshan Posthumulla and his wife discovered Cooper’s body in the backyard of the house and said that someone dragged the body in the bin after breaking through the fence. The man, who they could not recognize, left at about 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“I looked and I saw the dumpster and two legs sticking out from the … bin,” Pothumulla said. “I thought it was somebody making a joke with me, put a dummy inside, like, fooling around.”
“I’m sorry about the family and what happened to him,” Pothumulla said. “It’s hard to believe.”
Smyth said Cooper did leave with people after a party as reported and said “It’s fair to say this was drug related.”
Bell-Wright is connected to a home on Treger Bay, which is public housing and owned by the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation, where police investigated on Friday, Smyth said.
“The disappearance and murder of this young man has resonated… far beyond the neighbourhood,” said Smyth.
After discovering the body, Laresa Sayles, Nemeth’s aunt, tweeted that the search for the teen had been called off, and an official statement is set to be released in the coming days.
The tweet followed another with a photo of Nemeth with the hashtag #ripcip — Cip being Nemeth’s nickname.
“I especially want to acknowledge and thank our community throughout this ordeal… It was a remarkable effort and certainly made me glad to be part of the community.
“This is not the outcome that anyone wanted. Our hearts go out to the Nemeth family as they deal with the loss of their son.”
Nemeth’s family has not made any comments public, but a note on a website findcip.com had this statement Sunday: “There will be no search tomorrow. The family will issue a release in the next few days. Thank you.”
[Image via Instagram]