Questions may be on the minds of residents of the southeast, in light of recent developments in the case of Ruby Barnes.
One can't help but wonder at what circumstances led to her disappearance, and discovery of her SUV four months later in dense, remote bush over 130 kilometers north of her home near Carlyle, with human remains at the scene.
The RCMP say that at this time, they have yet to conclusively confirm whether the remains are indeed those belonging to Ruby Barnes, but they believe that the death was not due to suspicious causes.
This poses a burning question...how do they know? What factors might play into the scenario to give investigators an impression one way or another, whether or not a death is suspicious? Right now, no conclusion is final as the investigation is still ongoing. However, according to the Carlyle RCMP's Staff Sergeant Darren Simons, the signs have to pretty obvious for officers to reach a rapid conclusion of suspicion.
"Often, it's pretty evident that something is suspicious. You may hear of it treated as a suspicious death if someone was shot, or someone was stabbed. We don't say that (in that detail) right away, but that's why we release as much information as we feel the public needs to know for their safety. We use all our specialized resources and knowledge to determine that. (In the case) of the most recent one we're talking about here, all evidence from the specialized units involved show it to be a collision that turned to be tragic."
He added that the investigations usually get rolling with a general duty member, but once it gets going, all available resources are called in.
"In a situation where we have a missing person for an extended period of time, our Major Crimes unit is involved. If we do have a recovery, as we did here, we'll also involve our Forensic Identification section. If it involves anything to do with a collision or mapping, we involve our Accident Re-constructionists. They have UAVs, and they also have a computer program that can basically put it into a big, concise picture of what we found and where it's been found. We use all that evidence, and our experience and our knowledge to determine if there is anything suspicious."
Simons went on to describe what a major scene similar to the crash north of Esterhazy would look like.
"For the scene that was up north, the first thing that we do is secure the scene. We provide security on scene with uniformed members until the scene is clear. That can be quite extensive. This one started Monday afternoon, and it was Tuesday evening before the scene was cleared," he said, adding that the investigation included the forensic unit and major crimes, among others.
"We restrict who goes in and who goes out. For this one, the coroner was involved as well, because there was a fatality. We document everyone who goes in and every individual who goes out, and the times. The specialized resource teams use all their equipment, training and expertise to piece the puzzle together."
He noted that the location of the vehicle made it nearly impossible to find, unless one was right on top of it.
"As much as we searched a large area, and family and community members searched a large area, Saskatchewan's a big province. This was outside of where we assumed the vehicle may have been."
He concluded with an admonition to call the police if you ever see anything suspicious. They will look into it and determine whether it warrants further action..
"It's because someone did see the vehicle, that they called police. Don't hesitate to call us. It's because of the public and their assistance that we located this vehicle and can provide closure to the family."