Ottawa police investigators are waiting as heavy equipment continues to work at the Trail Road embankment during the search for the body of the alleged murder victim Susan Kuplu. Ashley Fraser / Postmedia
After an intensive two-week search for Susan Kuplu's remains at a city landfill, police are making a brief operational break to give police officers and equipment operators a break.
What began as a missing persons case in early January turned into a murder investigation by the Ottawa police with murder charges against Kuplu's teenage daughter Lennese Kublu and Lennese's boyfriend Dwight Brown.
Kuplu, 37, was last seen by his parole officer during a court meeting in Ottawa on the morning of January 10.
Although friends and family keep looking for any sign of her, the police believe she was killed shortly thereafter. Relatives were also worried when his daughter Lennese disappeared just two days later, although police believe it was the result of a pair of alleged murderers who fled the city.
Homicide detectives claim that Kuplu, 37, was killed by Lennese and Brown inside his house on Penny Drive and that the couple then dropped Kuplu's body in a dumpster. The contents of the trash bin were taken to the Trail Road depot, where police were searching.
"The search operation at the Trail Road waste facility began on January 26 and continued for 14 consecutive days without a break," said lead investigator Det. Chris Benson said.
"The researchers faced extreme weather conditions but continued their quest for Susan without stopping."
The hiatus will give members of the emergency services unit the force, who have been searching for the landfill, and the city's heavy equipment operators, who are moving the garbage to make it searchable, time to rest, Benson said.
"This is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the research team."
Benson said police were committed to finding Kuplu's remains.
"I understand this is difficult for Susan's family and friends, but all the members involved in the search and investigation remain dedicated to finding Susan and giving her the resting place she deserves."
Kuplu, mother of five, came to Ottawa from Igloolik, Nunavut, years ago when her father came to the national capital for cancer treatment. Kuplu stayed in Broad Baffin, on Richmond Road, a pension for people accessing health services in the capital of remote northern communities.
She then did it at home in Ottawa.
Family and friends in Igloolik retained their support for teenager Lennese, the second of Kuplu's five children, claiming that Brown threatened her and had a history of violence with her.
They fled the city on January 12, reportedly after the homicide, fleeing to Toronto on a Greyhound bus. This newspaper first reported that they were arrested on January 15 for allegedly stealing in Toronto but only Brown was charged in connection with the incident. He was also accused of possessing crack cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and assaulting a security guard.
Brown was also charged by Ottawa police on Jan. 4 – a week before the alleged murder – of assaulting his now co-accused girlfriend, Lennese, on Dec. 29.
Lennese Kublu and Brown were charged with second-degree murder and committing indignity with a dead body.
The search for Susan Kuplu's body is expected to resume next week.