by Nigel Maxwell, for paNow
A Saskatchewan mother, still grieving the loss of her son, claims she is being taunted by his killers through social media.
Lisa Johnstone, whose son Brennan Ahenakew’s remains were found inside a burnt out car May 10 on the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, received a Facebook friend request late Monday night. The requester’s screen name was Brennan and there was a picture of Brennan’s grad picture to go with it.
Neither RCMP nor the coroner’s office, have disclosed any information publicly regarding the cause of death for Ahenakew, but new social media messaging has been extremely disturbing for the family.
“I sent a message to it right away and said ‘Who is this? Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to torment us more than we already are and they sent me a smiley face,” Johnstone told paNOW.
Johnstone immediately called RCMP and reported what had happened. Johnstone’s daughter and step-brother reportedly received similar messages and friend requests from the stranger. About an hour later Johnstone received a second Facebook message.
“Just to let you know we made him suffer and he begged for his life,” the message said.
“You think we don’t think about, that our son begged for his life before they left him and now no one’s being arrested,” Johnstone said.
The burning car was initially discovered the morning of May 10, but was not inspected until much later in the day when RCMP received a tip a body was inside it. When Johnstone received word through family her son’s car was the one on fire, she rushed to the scene and ran past the thick line of yellow police tape to the car.
“I looked at him and I saw his body and I knew right away we would not get justice because they burned everything. They burned all the evidence and they made it look like my son did that to himself,” Johnstone said.
Johnstone said the RCMP officer’s advice to her this week was to not accept any more friend requests. She said those words provided no comfort to her or her family.
“I had to try and comfort [my daughter] when I don’t know how to try and comfort myself in this type of situation,” she said.
Johnstone said she has tried her best to be patient and respect the legal process but added she is feeling very frustrated. Johnstone’s family members meanwhile have contacted a third party in Ottawa to investigate the RCMP’s investigation into Ahenakew’s death.
“Just when we were thinking we were going to get some normalcy back, this happened to us,” she said.
RCMP said Tuesday they had launched an investigation into the malicious Facebook posts.
“We’re using specialized investigators in our criminal analysis section as well as our general investigation section,” Corporal Rob King told paNOW. “We take all complaints regarding online crime very seriously and people will be held accountable for any criminal activity. These investigations are complicated but it’s underway.”
King said at this point the investigation was at such a status that police did not believe the social media posts had anything to do with Ahenakew’s death.
“The investigation [into his death] is still ongoing and there are still matters we need to determine, but at this point the investigation [into the social media posts] is going to focus on the distasteful comments made to the family.”