OTTAWA (Reuters) - Authorities in the Canadian prairie province of Manitoba have charged a 29-year-old man with the murder of five family members, including his baby daughter, police said on Monday.
The accused, Ryan Howard Manoakeesick, was arrested after the deaths in three separate but linked incidents in the town of Carman in southern Manitoba on Sunday.
Police said the first incident was a reported hit-and-run, where police found a woman's body. Hours later, police received a report of a vehicle on fire and the three young children were pulled out from it by the accused, and declared dead at the scene. Further investigation led officers to a residence in Carman, where the body of another female was located.
Manoakeesick was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, police said. The five victims, who lived together, were Manoakeesick's 30-year-old partner; their daughter, 6; son, 4; two-and-a-half-month-old daughter; and the partner's 17-year-old niece.
Police said they were not releasing names or more details about the victims at the request of their families.
"Young, innocent lives were senselessly taken yesterday and we grieve with all Manitobans," Tim Arseneault of the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police told a news briefing.
Arseneault said investigators were still gathering information about the incidents to establish a timeline and motive.
"There is no context, there is no explanation that can make this OK," Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said at the briefing. "This is pure darkness."
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)