Saskatchewan RCMP have laid murder charges in the death of a 15-year-old girl who was last seen 11 years ago.
Katelyn Noble disappeared from a farmhouse in the Radisson area on August 27, 2007. She was originally from Mission, B.C.
RCMP announced Wednesday that Eduard Viktorovit Baranec, 41, had been charged with first-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body in connection to Noble’s death.
“It’s been a long, drawn out and complicated investigation but at this point, we’re confident that we have the evidence to bring forward and start the court process,” RCMP Cpl. Rob King said.
Baranec was arrested Tuesday at Kent Institution, a maximum-security federal penitentiary in B.C. where he is currently serving a life sentence for the 2007 murder of Amanpreet Kaur Bahia.
He was convicted of Bahia’s murder in October 2016. Global News reported at the time that Berenec was hired by Bahia’s husband, Baljinder Singh Bahia, who was also convicted of first-degree murder in the case.
King said the time investigators put into the Noble case is almost incalculable.
“There’s been thousands and thousands of hours and thousands of kilometres travelled to get us to this point today. This is one of those investigations where no one was going to let it go, and many investigators have been on this investigation almost their entire career.”
King said RCMP have been in close contact with Noble’s family over the years and they were contacted when the arrest was made.
Baranec was believed to be one of the last people seen with Noble. King said the two knew each other, but declined to say anything else about the relationship, explaining that details will come out in court.
Six years after her disappearance, Noble’s mom told 650 CKOM that Katelyn’s boyfriend last saw the teen being embraced by Baranec before she ran away.
King said information from the Saskatchewan RCMP historical crimes unit helped investigators in B.C. zero in on on Baranec.
Despite multiple searches, Noble’s body has not been found. However, King said the case was treated as a murder investigation from very early on.
Baranec made his first court appearance by video link Wednesday on the charges stemming from Noble’s death.
He appeared relaxed and remained silent save to tell the judge he understood the charges against him and that he’d spoken to a lawyer.
He is due to appear again by video on Oct. 16 in Saskatoon Provincial Court.
‘About time:’ Radisson residents react to murder charge
The news of the murder charge came as a relief to residents in Radisson who remembered the disappearance.
“It’s about time this girl’s parents know that it’s over with,” Roberta Harris said.
Noble’s family made several trips to the small town in the months and years after she vanished, working with locals to co-ordinate searches for their daughter.
Terri Mitchler made her home the search headquarters, and has kept in contact with Noble’s mother for years.
“I’ve seen her struggle, and I’ve seen her husband struggle,” Mitchler said.
“It’s not easy.”
She said she and her son were some of the last people to see Noble alive, when she came into the Red Bull gas station with Baranec.
Mitchler said the teenager gave her a look that’s stayed fresh in her memory for 11 years.
“When I look back on it, she was saying to me with her eyes: ‘Can you please help me?'” Mitchler said.
“And at the time I didn’t take the time to understand what was going on.”
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Bryn Levy, Chris Vandenbreekel and 980 CJME’s Lisa Schick