The trial for a Red Deer man who has been charged with murder in connection to the death of a Calgary woman in 2012 is set to get underway in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench next week.
Nathan Desharnais, 26, has been charged with second degree murder and offering indignity to human remains after the body of Talia Nellie Meguinis, 27, was found at a recycling facility in the Riverside Industrial area on Feb. 22nd, 2012 after police received a complaint at about 9:28 a.m. of a deceased female.
Red Deer City RCMP General Investigation Section and Red Deer Forensic Identification Section were called in to assist with the investigation. After further investigation, RCMP said Meguinis was not murdered in the location her body was found.
Desharnais’ arrest is a result of an extensive seven-month investigation that involved the Red Deer RCMP General Investigation Section, Major Crimes Unit, Forensic Identification Unit, Victims Services and the Police Dog Service. The Calgary MCU, the ‘K’ Division Special Tactical Operations, Polygraph Sections in Calgary and Edmonton, the Calgary Police Service, and the Tsuu T’ina police also assisted. There were 40 investigators who were dedicated to this case with more than 25,000 man-hours spent on the investigation.
“Talia was a resident of the Calgary area who we believe arrived in Red Deer on approximately Feb. 17th,” said RCMP Const. Gary Kroeker, at the time of Desharnais’ arrest, adding police will not be releasing the cause of death as the case is now before the courts.
He added police believe Desharnais and Meguinis had just met the weekend she was murdered. She was traveling back home to Calgary from northern Alberta and stopped in Red Deer to visit family.
RCMP Cpl. Ben Scott added no other arrests will be made in the case.
“We are absolutely 100 per cent confident that Nathan Desharnais is the person responsible for the murder of Talia Meguinis.”
He added there were many challenges during the investigation.
“Some of the hurdles we encountered from the onset were due to the fact that she was found in a recycling facility and she was unknown to us at the time. Typically when we have a murder investigation we have a starting point and we know who the victim is. We didn’t have that. It took us a few days before we knew her identity so we were playing catch up from the get-go.”
During a press conference after Desharnais’ arrest in 2012, which was held at the RCMP headquarters in Red Deer, Meguinis’ family attended to speak with the media.
“The last seven months have been a very sad and difficult time for our family. We loved Talia very much and every day we miss her more,” said Sally Simeon, Meguinis’ mother. “When the police told us that Talia had been murdered, we could not believe the news. Every day since then we have prayed that whoever killed her would be caught. Today, our family is relieved that someone has been charged with Talia’s murder. Our hope is that he will be brought to justice.
“I would just like people to know that Talia was a beautiful young woman. She was funny and loved to make others laugh. She was a devoted and loving mother and hard worker. She was generous to fault. She is greatly missed by her family and all who knew her. Our family is still grieving a great loss.”
Desharnais’ trial runs from Sept. 8th to Oct. 2nd in Red Deer.
Meanwhile, in June of 2014, Desharnais was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison after being charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement and imprisonment as a result of an incident that took place at his Red Deer home in June of 2012.
The charge of unlawful confinement was dropped by the court after the crown stayed the charge.
He is currently in custody serving that sentence.