A 22-year-old man has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in connection with the homicide of 17-year-old Braiden Jacob in Thunder Bay.
On Friday evening Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS), working in conjunction with Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service officers, arrested Jonathan Yellowhead shortly after 5 p.m.
Yellowhead appeared in court Saturday morning by video and will remain in custody until a his next court appearance scheduled for Dec. 18.
He has been ordered to have no contact with seven witnesses and is also facing a charge for breaching a previous order on a separate charge dating back to May 22 of this year.
Jacob’s body was found last Sunday morning in a Thunder Bay park. The Webequie First Nation youth was reported missing on Dec. 6.
His family had last seen him on on the evening of Dec. 5 when he left the Thunder Bay hotel they were staying in. They began searching for him when he didn’t return later that night.
Community volunteers began an organized search for the missing teen on Dec. 6.
The youth was in the city for ongoing counselling services for trauma and grief, Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse told APTN last week, adding the youth’s family was “very distraught”.
“Even the community is impacted by the loss of a young man.”
News of Yellowhead’s arrest came hours after the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) dissolved the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) Board and replaced the civilian body responsible for overseeing the city’s municipal police force with an administrator.
The OCPC called the overt and systemic racism toward Indigenous people it found within the TBPS “an emergency”. It was the second independent police watchdog in a week that delivered a scathing report of racism in the force.
On Wednesday the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) reported there was a trend of sudden death investigations involving Indigenous people not being properly handled by police. The OIPRD recommended reopening at least nine of those cases.
Police say they’re continuing the investigation into Jacob’s death.