On the last night Christine Wood was seen she allegedly went to meet her accused killer after making contact through an online dating site, a Winnipeg courtroom heard on the first day of the trial into her death.
In opening remarks crown attorney Chantal Boutin told the jury Wood went to Brett Overby’s home on the night of Aug. 19, 2016 and it was “a meeting she would never return,” from.
Overby is charged with second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Boutin said evidence presented over the course of the trial “will be difficult to see and hear.”
“Her remains would uncover the truth about how she died- violently,” she told the jury.
But, ultimately evidence will not determine the why, “people do things for any number of reasons often known only to them,” said Boutin.
Melinda Wood, Christine’s mother, was the first to testify Tuesday morning. Clutching an eagle feather Melinda recalled the last night she saw her daughter alive.
On Aug. 19, 2016 Wood left a Winnipeg hotel around 9 p.m. Prior to leaving the 21-year-old told her parents she was going to meet up with some friends.
Shortly before 10:30 p.m. that night Melinda texted her daughter, “are you coming to sleep here?”
She told the court she never received a response. Two days later Christine’s parents filed a missing person report with Winnipeg Police.
Brett Overby, charged with second-degree murder
The Wood family was visiting Winnipeg from their home community of Bunibonibee Cree Nation, approximately 950 km north of the city, at the time of Christine’s disappearance.
Melinda was escorting her mother on a medical appointment and was staying in a hotel. She says Christine went to the city at the end of July and was staying with some friends. When the family arrived around Aug. 13, Christine stayed with them in the hotel.
It would be another 10 months before her body was found. In early June 2017 a farmer found the remains of Christine in a shallow grave outside the city.
During testimony Melinda said she was very close to her daughter and it was unusual not to hear from her everyday.
Christine had moved to Winnipeg in 2014 to attend university where she studied business administration.
Melinda said during this time Christine would text her everyday.
Melinda testified she had concerns about Christine living in the city alone because, “things happen in the city,” but said she never had concerns about her using drugs or drinking.
In the afternoon court heard from one of the police officers assigned to Christine’s missing persons’ case.
Detective Jean Guy-Roy said during the course of the investigation police followed Christine’s electronic footprint by tracking her cellphone and social media accounts.
Investigators eventually retrieved Facebook messages Christine sent in the early morning hours of Aug. 20, 2016. They were able to determine the messages were sent from Overby’s home in the North End based off of his IP address.
Guy-Roy said Christine sent two messages looking for drugs.
The crown introduced Guy-Roy and his partner’s first interaction with Overby into evidence. In early January 2017 Overby was called for an informal sit-down interview with police.
In the nearly 90-minute video police questioned Overby on his dating habits, drug use and whereabouts the summer Christine went missing.
Overby admitted to meeting women on dating sites and specifically referred to PlentyofFish as one he used.
A half hour into the interview police told Overby he was asked to come in because his home was connected to Christine.
“What we have here Christine wood logged into her FB account through your IP address,” one of the officers said.
Overby responded in confusion saying he did not know Christine and had never met her.
Toward the end of the interview police asked Overby, “did you kill Christine Wood?”
“No, I don’t know who she is,” Overby responded.
The trial is expected to run for two weeks.