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Man arrested after three children, two women found dead in Manitoba, police say

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Inspector Tim Arseneault speaks to the media about the ongoing investigation in Winnipeg on Feb. 11.David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press

Police in Manitoba say one man is in custody after the suspicious deaths of three children and two women from a rural community southwest of Winnipeg.

At a news conference on Sunday afternoon, Manitoba RCMP Major Crime Services said the string of incidents spanned three locations, including one at which the suspect was arrested shortly after the three deceased children were pulled out of a burning vehicle.

RCMP Inspector Tim Arseneault provided few details at a hastily called news conference but said police believe all five of the dead and a suspect were known to each other.

"As a parent, I simply can't imagine the enormity of your loss," he said, expressing condolences to the families and friends of the victims. "Please know that the RCMP and everyone in Manitoba stands with you. The community of Carman and surrounding areas will also be grieving as they have lost some of their youngest residents in such a tragic way."

Police provided a timeline of events on Sunday afternoon.

At about 7:30 that morning, Carman RCMP received a report of a hit-and-run on Highway 3, about 6.5 kilometres south of the town, Insp. Arseneault said. The body of an adult woman was located in a nearby ditch; the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

At about 10 a.m., Headingley RCMP received a report of a vehicle on fire on Highway 248, north of Provincial Trunk Highway 424, in the rural municipality of Cartier. As officers were en route, a witness pulled three young children out of the burning vehicle, all of whom were declared dead on scene, Insp. Arseneault said. At this location, a 29-year-old suspect was taken into custody.

The investigation continued, leading police to a residence in Carman, where the body of a second woman was found, Insp. Arseneault said.

Police said there is no risk to public safety.

RCMP Major Crime Services, Carman RCMP, Headingley/Stonewall RCMP, RCMP Forensic Science and Identification Services and the RCMP Forensic Collision Reconstructionist Unit continue to investigate. No charges had been laid Sunday.

Messages of condolence began pouring out Sunday afternoon. Carman Mayor Brent Owen described Sunday's events as "unimaginable."

"It's horrific that five people have lost their lives in our community," he said in an interview.

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham sent his sympathies to those affected by the tragedy in a post to the social-media platform X.

"Having grown up in Carman, and with many connections still in the area, I'm shocked and saddened by today's news," he wrote.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew sent "comfort and strength to the families and community of Carman."

"Our deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by this tragedy," he wrote in a post to X.

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