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Manitoba Judge Warns Accused Killer About Meth Addiction’s Potential Impact on His Family

The man accused of killing five family members, including his three young children, was warned by a judge to get his methamphetamine addiction under control or risk losing everything.

Ryan Howard Manoakeesick faces five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his 30-year-old common-law partner, six-year-old daughter, four-year-old son and two-month-old baby girl, as well as his partner’s 17-year-old niece.

A judge had warned Mr. Manoakeesick years earlier that he needed help with his addiction before things “completely spiral out of control.”

“If you don’t do something, eventually it’s going to cost you your family,” the provincial court judge told Mr. Manoakeesick in 2019.

RCMP have not publicly identified the victims, but an obituary has named them as Amanda Clearwater, her children—Bethany, Jayven, and Isabella Manoakeesick—and her niece Myah-Lee Gratton.

“It is with great sorrow to announce the sudden and tragic death of these innocent lives,” said the obituary from Doyle’s Funeral Home in Carman.

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Family and friends have also been sharing stories of the family on social media, calling their deaths tragic, unimaginable, and a horrible nightmare.

Their bodies were found Feb. 11 at multiple crime scenes in and around Carman, a town of about 3,000 people southwest of Winnipeg.

Mr. Manoakeesick, 29, was arrested the same day.

He and Ms. Clearwater had been together off and on for at least 12 years. In Facebook posts from 2011, Ms. Clearwater calls Mr. Manoakeesick her boyfriend and writes that she doesn’t know what she’d do without him. A year later, she posts that her boyfriend had moved to the city and no longer lived next door.

Throughout the years, Ms. Clearwater posted her love for Mr. Manoakeesick and how she misses him, but also about anger and tears.

In more recent years, Ms. Clearwater shared photos of their young children. The kids run through a splash park, look curiously at a horse, and play in a park with large smiles on their faces.

Mr. Manoakeesick told the judge in 2019 that he was supporting his family, which included Ms. Clearwater and their two children at the time, but he was unemployed. He had last worked at a plastic pipe manufacturer but said he left to seek help for his mental health.

He was convicted of mischief and sentenced to 18 months probation. During the sentencing, a Crown prosecutor said “drug use is an issue.”

Court heard Mr. Manoakeesick had locked himself inside a detached garage in Winnipeg. He became “confused and delirious” and began to strike the overhead door causing significant damage.

Police found Mr. Manoakeesick and paramedics treated him for psychosis.

The next day, court was told he went to a Tim Hortons restaurant and threw glass coffee mugs around, causing them to shatter. Employees locked themselves in a backroom and called 911.

“The indication was that he was on meth,” the prosecutor said.

Court heard Mr. Manoakeesick, who is from Garden Hill First Nation, was put in foster care when he was eight. He had anxiety and depression. Mr. Manoakeesick said he had relapsed and started using methamphetamine again.

He was also facing charges for impaired driving from 2021.

Mr. Manoakeesick’s next court appearance for the murder charges is Feb. 23.

RCMP have said autopsies are taking place this week as they continue to investigate how the deaths unfolded.

Police were first called to an area outside Carman early on Feb. 11 for a report of a hit-and-run. Ms. Clearwater was found lying dead in a ditch.

More than two hours later, and 70 kilometres to the north, officers were called to a report of a burning vehicle. RCMP said Mr. Manoakeesick was seen by witnesses pulling his three children from the vehicle.

The children were pronounced dead, and police took Mr. Manoakeesick into custody at the scene.

Further investigation led officers to the family’s home in Carman, where they found the teen’s body.

Carman Mayor Brent Owen has said the whole community has been affected by the tragedy.

The family’s obituary offered special thanks to the Carman community “for standing behind our family during this devastating time.”

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