Gregory Mitchell Fertuck spoke with his lawyer, but was otherwise silent during his first court appearance on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the 2015 disappearance of his estranged wife Sheree Fertuck.“All I can tell you is this has been an example of a very complex investigation. Full credit is due to the RCMP for never giving up, for continuing to search for the truth and in this matter, the truth will come out,” Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss said Wednesday outside Saskatoon provincial court.During the brief appearance, Bliss told court the Crown was opposed to Fertuck being released on bail ahead of trial and asked that he be ordered to have no contact with three potential witnesses — who he later specified were family members — in the case.He is also before the court, charged with impaired driving in December 2018 and failing to appear in court on that charge, Bliss confirmed.
Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss speaks to media after Gregory Mitchell Fertuck made his first court appearance on June 26, 2019, charged with first-degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Sheree Fertuck.
Matt Smith /
Fertuck’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 22. He is represented by defence lawyer Morris Bodnar, who declined to speak about the case at this time.Sheree went missing on Dec. 7, 2015 near her mother’s home in Kenaston, about 80 kilometres south of Saskatoon. She was at work, hauling rock at a gravel pit that day. A lunch date with family members was the last time anyone saw her.Her mother found her abandoned gravel truck at the pit the following morning, with her keys, cellphone and coat inside the unlocked vehicle. After searching the pit for more than one hour, the family reported her missing to RCMP. Family, friends and police conducted an extensive ground search, but Sheree was never found.Police in 2016 said investigators came to the conclusion that the case was a homicide “after lengthy searches, analysis of evidence and overall investigation into her disappearance.”RCMP arrested and charged Fertuck on Monday evening with first-degree murder and offering an indignity to human remains. In a press conference held Tuesday in Regina, RCMP Supt. Derek Williams said there was still one major job for investigators to finish.“This has gone on for almost three-and-a-half years,” he said. “Obviously it still remains tragic and we still need to find Sheree’s body to bring that closure to the family.”Williams said it is “unusual” that a first-degree murder charge is laid without a body being found, but that the Crown was confident in the available evidence to lay such a charge in this case. There have been successful prosecutions in similar situations, Williams added.Police are actively searching for the remains of Sheree Fertuck, Williams said. Her family was notified Monday of the arrest and murder charge.“They were pleased with the outcome of the investigation, the fact that we’ve laid charges,” Williams said.There did not appear to be any of Sheree’s family members in court for Fertuck’s appearance.Williams said hundreds of hours were spent on the “complex” investigation, with members of the major crimes and historical crimes units involved.“Any homicide investigation is complex at its nature, especially historical cases. They do take a long time to collect the evidence necessary to lay a charge,” Williams said.
According to civil court documents filed in 2016, police believed Fertuck was killed by her estranged husband. At that time and through his lawyer, Gregory Fertuck — who was separated from Sheree when she disappeared — denied the RCMP’s claims in the court file.Gregory Fertuck was named in a production order seeking access to a family law file. In the production order, dated Jan. 19, 2016, RCMP Cpl. Jeremy Anderson stated he had “reasonable grounds to believe” Gregory Fertuck committed the offence of murder.The production order was contained in a civil action at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench by Sheree Fertuck’s son Lucas, who was seeking to be appointed property guardian for her affairs under The Missing Persons and Presumption of Death Act, so he could file her taxes, pay her bills and otherwise take care of her property and financial matters. His two sisters supported his application to be appointed property guardian, he wrote.In an affidavit dated March 20, 2016 and filed in support of the application, Lucas Fertuck said Gregory Fertuck attempted to cash in joint investments.—With files from Hannah Spray
RCMP searched a slough near Kenaston in December 2015 after the disappearance on Dec. 7, 2015 of Sheree Fertuck (RCMP)
Photo courtesy RCMP