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

Warning: This story contains details that may upset some readers.

Part of the body of Donna Charlie, who was murdered in 1990, has been found near Prince George, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said today.

Prince George’s RCMP Major Crimes Unit launched an investigation in October after a member of the public found remains in Connaught Hills.

Police confirmed Charlie’s identity in a statement on Nov. 16 and said the victim’s family had been notified of the discovery.

“With the assistance of the British Columbia Coroner’s Service, the RCMP are now able to publicly identify the recovered body as that of Donna Charlie, a victim of a 1990 homicide.

“While the initial investigation resulted in a conviction, until the last body is found, it remains an open file with our Missing Persons Unit,” said Cpl. Jennifer Cooper, Prince George RCMP media relations officer.

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

She was reported missing from PG in September 1990. Charlie was last seen leaving Ingenika with Smart Slater on August 30, 1990, according to Prince George’s Free Press archives.

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

In May 1991, Smaaslet was charged with murder. A jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, but an appeals court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial. In May 1995, Smaaslet pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

In addition to serving 38 months, he was sentenced to one year in prison, plus two years of probation and a lifetime weapons ban.

In May 2007, a court declared Smaaslet a “dangerous criminal” following numerous acts of violence and abuse against women.

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