(Justin Hudson. Facebook photo)
By Jorge Barrera and Jaydon Flett
APTN National News
The 20 year-old man charged with attempted murder in connection with the brutal attack on 16 year-old Rinelle Harper and a 23 year-old unidentified woman grew up in Winnipeg and was partly raised by the child welfare system, according to his biological father.
Justin James Hudson, 20, is currently in custody facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. He was charged along with a 17 year-old male.
The two were charged after police linked the attack on Harper by the Assiniboine River and a 23 year-old woman who was left unconscious on a Winnipeg street in the early morning hours of Nov. 8.
Hudson’s aunt confirmed to APTN National News the 20 year-old had been arrested shortly after she spoke with his mother, April Hudson.
“It’s him,” said the aunt.
Brian McKay, Hudson’s biological father, said the young man grew up in the child welfare system.
“He was raised in the city by (Child and Family Services). He was in and out of CFS,” said Brian McKay, his biological father who lives in Berens River First Nation. “He got apprehended all the time.”
McKay said Hudson’s aunts took over care of the child shortly after his birth and he was raised in Winnipeg, where his biological mother also lives. Another one of Hudson’s aunts still lives in Berens River.
McKay said he never developed a relationship with Hudson and only received information on his son filtered through the aunts.
“I didn’t know this Justin that much,” he said. “It was always that he was getting drunk and getting high all the time. That is all I heard when I asked about my kids.”
Hudson and his mother are both registered band members of Poplar River First Nation, according to band Coun. Emile Mason. Mason said Hudson’s mother and her sisters moved to Berens River when they were children.
Hudson’s sister Tara McKay told APTN National News she was stunned by the news her brother had been charged.
“I just never thought my brother was like that. I knew he was into really bad things, but sexually assaulting women? i just can’t believe,” said McKay. “I just hope the police find out the real story of what happened that night. I don’t want my brother to go down with a charge that wasn’t true.”
McKay said it was hard to process what happened.
“I just don’t know what to think about this. I just never thought my brother was like that,” she said.
On his Facebook page, Hudson claimed to be part of the Manitoba Warriors street gang. Among the many threats posted on his page was one claiming the Warriors would get him in prison.
McKay posted a comment on Hudson’s page calling for people to let the police and the courts handle the case.
“Let the law handle it. U guys are no better than him wit all this talk (sic),” said McKay.
Superintendent Danny Smyth revealed chilling new details about the attack on Harper during a press conference Wednesday. He said Harper was attacked a second time after she crawled out, partially clothed, from the Assiniboine River.
Smyth said two males met up with Harper at about midnight Saturday after she had become separate from her friends, Smyth said. After striking up a conversation, they led her to the river walk along the Assiniboine where she was violently sexually assaulted, he said.
“The two males turned on Rinelle and violently assaulter her in the upper and lower body,” said Smyth.
Harper ended up in the “frigid” waters of the Assiniboine River after the initial assault. She crawled out of the river only to be attacked again with a weapon by the two suspects and “left for dead,” said Smyth.
Harper was found by a passerby at about 7 a.m. Saturday.
After the suspects attacked Harper, they met up with a second woman at about 2:30 a.m., also sexually assaulting her with a weapon. She was also left unconscious on the street.
While Winnipeg police’s homicide unit led the investigation, it was information from a constable that proved key in leading to the arrest and charges, said Smyth.
“That was instrumental in linking the two separate attacks together and the two victims,” said Smyth. “Without that information, I’m not sure if we would have been able to resolve it as quickly as we did.”
Smyth said police had yet to find any strong links between Saturday’s attacks and the murder of Tina Fontaine, 15, whose wrapped body was pulled from the Red River.
Smyth said the two suspects were not known to police before their recent arrest.