Body found in scorched North Battleford home that was connected to 2019 gang murder

The body of an unidentified person was found at a North Battleford home that was destroyed in a weekend fire. The house was one of the locations where a woman was brutally assaulted before she was killed in 2019. (City of North Battleford - image credit)

WARNING: this story contains distressing details.

Fire investigators are delving into the circumstances around a dead body discovered at a North Battleford home on Monday.

Five years ago, a 25-year-old woman was brutally beaten at the same home, then transported elsewhere by her attackers and killed before her body was dumped outside the city.

The North Battleford Fire Department was called to 952-105th Street on Saturday, just before 8 p.m. CST, according to a news release issued Monday by the City of North Battleford. The home was a total loss and a neighbouring home suffered heat damage.

A man in the home escaped through a second-floor window before it was enveloped in flames. He was hospitalized with minor cuts and glass lacerations, the news release said.

Fire department officials said the fire did not appear to be suspicious.

In a second news release on Tuesday, the city said a body had been found on the premises Monday afternoon.

As of Tuesday, officials have not determined the cause of the fire, or the cause of death, according to RCMP.

Fire investigators with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency are investigating the cause and origin of the fire and the Saskatchewan Coroners Service will conduct an autopsy to learn of the person's death.

The RCMP is not involved in the investigation, but will join the investigation if either the safety agency or coroners service determine the fire or death were criminal, an RCMP news release said.

According to court documents, 25-year-old Tiki Laverdiere from Edmonton was assaulted at the now-burnt home in April 2019. She was in North Battleford for the funeral of a friend, Tristen Cook-Buckle.

Gang members close to Cook-Buckle accused Laverdiere of knowing more about Cook-Buckle's death than she let on and attacked her. Laverdiere's wrists were bound and she was led from the home to two other locations and further tortured. At the final location, she was violently killed.

Ten people were involved in Laverdiere's death; all of them either pleaded guilty or were convicted of crimes ranging from first-degree murder to kidnapping.