Police investigating suspicious death outside north Edmonton townhouse


A police officer takes pictures at the scene where a woman's body was found yesterday morning between two duplexes at 150 Avenue and 118 Street. Police consider the death suspicious. (Jordan Verlage/Special to Sun Media)
A north Edmonton couple who thought little of a fight outside their townhouse Monday night awoke yesterday to find a young woman's lifeless body next to their porch.
Police consider the death suspicious and have called in homicide detectives to investigate.
"The body has been lying there for some time," said police Insp. Jamie Ewatski, from the scene yesterday morning.
It wasn't until about 9:30 a.m. that emergency crews got the call about the death outside Mark and Shannel Miniely's townhouse near 150 Avenue and 118 Street.
Mark, whose porch overlooks the spot where the woman lay, said it was his wife who noticed the body when she went outside for a cigarette.


"I came out to check that she was OK, and she was just frozen," he said.
"You don't touch a dead body every day. All you can do is hope she died in her sleep."
Police are now looking into whether the death has any connection to a dispute outside the couple's house Monday night.
"I saw her (alive) the night before," Shannel's brother, Sean Evanchuk, told Sun Media.
The woman and two men were yelling, leading Shannel to tell them to quiet down. Evanchuk believes he then saw a woman lying in the snow but didn't investigate further.
Shannel, meanwhile, said it sounded like the arguing was over money. "It was about $25,000," she said, noting one of the men lived in a neighbouring house where there had been another dispute earlier in the day.
The two men sounded drunk, she added.
Michelle Fraser, too, heard a disturbance in the same area between 9 and 10 p.m. Monday. A resident of the neighbouring low-rise apartment building, she was smoking outside when she heard voices from the townhouse complex.
"They were hovering over something," she said. "Towards the end of their conversation, I heard someone say, 'Leave it there.' "
Fraser thought the people might have been trying to steal something but, because of the cold, she, too, went back inside without doing anything. But while the body may have been lying there for hours, Fraser said she wasn't surprised it wasn't until the next morning that people found it.
"I hardly ever see anybody out there," she said.
For other neighbours, news of the grisly discovery came as a shock.
"There have been lots of fights around the building but nothing like this," 14-year-old Charley Ann Drake said after spotting the woman, who appeared to be wearing only a shirt and pants, lying in the snow.
Her mother, Carol, however, said the area has seen a lot of drug activity. In the summer, she noted, a police tactical squad conducted a drug bust on a nearby house.
For Miniely, the discovery of the woman, who appeared to be in her 20s or 30s, comes just three weeks after he and his wife moved into the townhouse. Before that, he lived in one of Edmonton's more troubled neighbourhoods, near 118 Avenue and Fort Road. The couple, he said, was "trying to get away from all this stuff."
Shannel believes the woman was sleeping outside after she was kicked out of the neighbour's house. "I just wish I had known," she said, adding she would have gotten involved had she realized what was happening.