Residents Of Carman, Man., Mourn Slain Woman, Teen, Children At Candlelight Vigil | CBC News


Residents of Carman, Man., held a candlelight vigil Friday night honouring the five people — including three young children — whose bodies were found in southern Manitoba less than a week ago.

More than 100 people showed up for vigil outside family’s former home

Arturo Chang · CBC News

· Posted: Feb 17, 2024 12:35 AM EST | Last Updated: 12 hours ago

Over a hundred people in the community, including the victims’ families, attended a Friday night vigil in Carman, Man., for five people who were killed last weekend. (Arturo Chang/CBC)WARNING: This story contains details involving the deaths of children.

Residents of Carman, Man., gathered in sombre silence at a candlelight vigil Friday night to mourn the deaths of five people — including three children — whose lives were cut short in a tragedy that shook the southern Manitoba community less than a week ago.

The police tape around the home of Amanda Clearwater and her common-law partner, Ryan Manoakeesick, came down before the vigil, held Friday evening.

More than 100 people in the community, including the victims’ families, Premier Wab Kinew, and other residents of the rural town about 75 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, showed up to pay their respects.

Manoakeesick is facing five first-degree murder charges for the deaths of Clearwater, her three children — six-year-old Bethany, four-year-old Jayven, and Isabella, who was two months old — and Myah Gratton, 17, a cousin of Amanda’s.

Carrie Hiebert, MLA for Morden-Winkler, attended Friday night’s vigil in Carman. (Justin Fraser/CBC)The victims’ bodies were found last Sunday at three separate locations. Clearwater was found in a ditch just off Highway 3 between Carman and Winkler. A few hours later, the children’s remains were pulled from a burning vehicle about 70 kilometres north of the town. Manoakesick was arrested at the site.

Gratton’s body was found later that day, inside the family’s home in Carman, where she also lived.

Wreaths, flowers, plushies and other kids’ toys were placed outside the home Friday in a memorial honouring the victims.

The tragedy has shaken the community of about 3,000 people to the core, said Gerald Dawydiuk, who lives about a block away from the house.

Wreaths, flowers, plushies and other kids’ toys were placed outside the house Friday. (Arturo Chang/CBC)Dawydiuk grew up in Carman, but had been living elsewhere for several years before coming back recently.

“This was quite a shock to the community. It’s so quiet in here,” he said. “I came by Sunday morning and I was quite surprised to see the house taped off, and then when I heard what had happened, it’s kind of unbelievable.”

Several families with their own kids were at the vigil. Dawydiuk said he was moved to take part in it because of the children.

“I really feel sorry when there is crimes, when there’s little kids involved that can’t help themselves,” he said. “They don’t have a choice in the matter, and I think a lot of people feel that way as well.”

Clockwise from the top left: Amanda Clearwater with her mother, Nancy Clearwater; six-year-old Bethany; four-year-old Jayven; two-month-old Isabella Manoakeesick; and Myah Gratton, 17. (Chelsea Cowell/Facebook)Members of the Southern Health Crisis service were at the vigil to help people affected by the tragedy. 

Carrie Hiebert, the MLA for Morden-Winkler, was also at the gathering Friday. She said the tragedy is “devastating.”

“Just looking back and seeing … what could we have done to help the situation, and just to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she said Friday before the vigil.

Premier Wab Kinew spoke to the families and the crowd that gathered outside the house.

“On behalf of the province of Manitoba, on behalf of people across the country, I want to offer our sincere condolences,” the premier said. “Sometimes, there aren’t even words.”

Premier open to inquestAt a news conference on Thursday, Kinew said he would be open to considering an inquest in the wake of the tragedy. That came after Juliette Hastings, Gratton’s mother, told media she had warned child and family services about Manoakeesick and that her daughter wasn’t safe living in the same household.

“We also have a responsibility as government when terrible things like this happen in our province to ask the question, ‘What went wrong?’ and more importantly, ‘How are we going to fix it?'” the premier said Thursday.

Dawydiuk said the situation doesn’t seem right.

“There should have been something. Something there needs to be changed,” he said.

Premier Wab Kinew spoke to the families and the crowd that gathered outside the house at the vigil. (Arturo Chang/CBC)Support is available for anyone affected by these reports. You can talk to a mental health professional via Wellness Together Canada by calling 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 686868 for youth or 741741 for adults. It is free and confidential.

CorrectionsAn earlier version of this story identified Myah Gratton as Amanda Clearwater’s niece. In fact, she was a cousin.

Feb 17, 2024 9:33 AM CT


Arturo Chang is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. Before that, he worked for CBC P.E.I. and BNN Bloomberg. You can reach him at

With files from Karen Pauls

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