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Sask. landfill search sets example in quest to find victims of accused Manitoba serial killer

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It's been one week since investigators began their search at the Saskatoon landfill, looking for answers in the MacKenzie Trottier case.

While police have nothing to report from the search, they say the snow and rain has not held the investigation back.

"Our officers will be working rain or snow — that won't slow them down," Saskatoon police Staff Sgt. Corey Lenius told journalists on Wednesday, when the search started.

"The biggest challenge will be for the equipment. The road up to our location is pretty muddy and can get pretty greasy."

Trottier has been missing for more than three years. She was 22-years-old when she was last seen leaving her family home.

With help from garbage truck GPS, police are focused on searching an area in the landfill approximately 10 metres wide and one meter deep.

Forensic anthropologist Emily Holland researched the feasibility of searching a Manitoba landfill for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran.

The women were killed by alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki.

Skibicki has admitted to killing four Indigenous women — including Myran and Harris — but argues he is not criminally responsible because of a mental illness.

Holland said landfill searches are "complicated."

In the report, asbestos and other toxic chemicals were outlined as risks and hazards for investigators.

Holland said the volume of garbage to sift through can be a challenge, but because it's tightly packed, it breaks down slower.

"Landfills create an anaerobic environment, or an environment that lacks oxygen, and this actually prevents decomposition,” Holland told CTV News.

"If you have any kind of organic material, yes, it's going to break down. Yes, it will decompose, but at a much slower rate than it would in other environments."

Saskatoon police are dedicating 33 days to the search, which includes weekends.

Manitoba officials said they're closely watching what happens in Saskatoon, as their search has yet to begin.

In February, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said he's confident the landfill search for Myran and Harris will happen this year.

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