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UPDATE: Bones found at Labrador sweat lodge believed to be non-human: RCMP

Janet Cooper and Joey Michelin look through the fire pits where bone fragments were found on July 20.
Janet Cooper and Joey Michelin look through the fire pits where bone fragments were found on July 20. - Contributed

Further tests to be done by Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

NORTH WEST RIVER, N.L. —

Bone pieces that were discovered at a sweat lodge in central Labrador are believed to be non-human, according to the RCMP. The bones were discovered on July 20 by family members of Luke Cooper- a North West River man who disappeared in July of 2018. The bone fragments will undergo further testing by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

“Preliminary examination to date by our Forensic Identification Services section and a forensic anthropologist indicate the bones found are not human,” an RCMP spokesperson said in an email. “They have been sent for further examination and confirmation to the OCME.”

According to an RCMP press release from last year, it is believed Luke Cooper fell into the water while canoeing in the early morning of July 15. The RCMP has stated since then that they don’t believe foul play was involved in his disappearance.

Janet Cooper, sister of Luke Cooper, sifting through the fire pits looking for bones. CONTRIBUTED
Janet Cooper, sister of Luke Cooper, sifting through the fire pits looking for bones. CONTRIBUTED

The Cooper family, however, have been investigating their own leads for the past year. Several people have told them stories that suggest Luke Cooper did indeed meet with foul play the morning he disappeared.

On July 20, a member of the Cooper family was talking to someone on the phone who had a vision that Luke’s body was burned, and they should check out a lodge. Sheila Cooper described this person on the phone as a “medicine woman,” rather than using the term psychic.

“She wasn’t sure if it was a fishing lodge or what not, so me and Ann (Cooper) went up to the sweat lodge to have a look because it’s the only lodge we know of,” said Sheila.

“Sure enough, we found bones in three separate fire pits, so that piqued our interests.”

The Coopers collected some bone fragments and brought them to the Sheshatshiu RCMP. The RCMP collected the fragments and went to the sweat lodge to check out the fire pits, according to Sheila Cooper.

According to Sheila, this isn’t the first time the family has received a tip on Luke’s disappearance from a psychic or seer of visions.

“Some of us are not that into psychics, but what harm can it do?” Said Sheila.

The Labrador Voice will keep you updated on the results of the bone examinations.


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