Murder in a small town
Police say they have suspects Iqaluit's second murder of the year

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 04/99) - Blood samples obtained from the scene of last week's murder will undergo DNA testing in hopes of positively identifying a suspect in the case, says the RCMP sergeant who is leading Iqaluit's second murder investigation of the year.

Several blood stained items, including clothing, were taken from inside and outside of Shoatee Joannie's residence last weekend after his murder was reported to the Iqaluit RCMP.

"We'll check (DNA) samples from Joannie with blood samples taken from the scene to see if they match," said Sgt. O'Malley.

"However, it may be months before we even get those results back."

In the meantime, police have suspects in the murder investigation that saw specialized investigators flown in from Winnipeg and Halifax last week.

As of Sunday, no arrests had been made and police are continuing to follow-up leads. More than 200 tasks, ranging from interviews to handing out flyers, have been executed as the search for clues in Joannie's death continues.

Evidence samples such as blood and hair have been taken from Joannie's body and are undergoing DNA testing in Ottawa.

An autopsy performed in Toronto last week revealed Joannie, 39, died from "blunt force trauma", but police are refusing to identify what the murder weapon was and how it was used.

"Holding back that information is standard procedure," said Sgt. Mike O'Malley.

"That way when the public brings information to us we can confirm that it is accurate and not because it was made public."

Public assistance has played a crucial role in the RCMP's work to piece together Joannie's final days.

"We still don't have a complete picture of what happened," he said.

"But we are talking to people on a continual basis. Each interview we do leads to more names and then we have to speak with all of those people."

This weekend, police used a nation-wide road safety blitz to distribute flyers to motorists, again asking for their help.

"We are particularly interested in finding out exactly what Joannie did and who he saw on Thursday and Friday before he died," said Sgt. O'Malley.

Joannie, who worked for the Town of Iqaluit for 15 years, was buried on Friday.

Some 20 members from the Nunavut RCMP are handling the investigation.

Iqaluit's first murder, committed in late April, will see the accused appear in court later this month.