PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — A man in Saskatchewan has been charged with the killings over the weekend of his parents and young son, police said.
Nathaniel Kenneth Carrier faces three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Denis Carrier, 56, Sandra Henry, 56, and seven-year-old Bentlee.
The 28-year-old man is also charged with attempted murder of his five-year-old daughter.
Prince Albert police Insp. Craig Mushka said he couldn't comment on a possible motive behind the killings.
"We are very early in our investigation," Mushka said Wednesday.
"Obviously, it's human nature to want to know why something like this occurred."
Police were called to a home in Prince Albert on Sunday evening after friends noted they had not heard from the couple and two of their grandchildren.
Officers located Denis Carrier, Henry and their grandson dead on the property.
The boy's little sister, Kendrah, was in critical condition and transferred to a hospital in Edmonton.
Mushka said new evidence, such as video surveillance from the neighbourhood, suggests that the killings happened Saturday.
Nathaniel Carrier also lived at the home, but officers could not find him, and a family vehicle was missing.
The vehicle was found in La Ronge on Sunday and investigators located the suspect in Prince Albert. Mushka said he was not a risk to public safety and was arrested Tuesday.
"I am not able to divulge his exact location during that time, but those details will likely become available during the judicial process," Mushka said.
The family's relatives and friends said they are struggling to understand why the deaths happened.
"Stuff like this doesn't happen to our family," said Sherry McLellan, Henry's cousin.
She said Henry and Denis Carrier began dating in junior high school. Nathaniel Carrier is one of their three sons.
Henry worked at a local Co-op store, where she was known for her friendly demeanour and for making everyone feel important, her cousin said.
She liked to play cards, had a great sense of humour and referred to everyone as "cuz," said McLellan.
She was also part of a large Metis family, said McLellan, adding that restrictions around COVID-19 mean they cannot grieve together.
McLellan said she hopes the couple's other two sons are receiving the support they need.
"We are a strong Metis family where we have values of family and tradition. Family is very important," she said.
"We are still struggling and reeling from what happened. Our heads are in the clouds and we don't know really what is going on."
McLellan has started an online fundraiser to help cover funeral costs and support the couple's two other sons. Money will also go to help the granddaughter, who remains in hospital in stable condition.
McLellan said she hopes one day there will be answers, but for now she's encouraging everyone to tell their family members how much they love them.
"Don't take your family for granted. Make sure that you check on them. Make sure you extend yourself out to them," she said. "Let everybody know you love them."
Court records show Nathaniel Carrier was scheduled for a court appearance Wednesday, but his attendance was waived. He is next to appear in court April 15, although the court file shows his attendance will again be waived.
— By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg, with files from paNOW
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2020
The Canadian Press