Manitoba homicide victim's family surprised with new probe

At least one family member of a woman killed in Winnipeg in 1961 says she is surprised to hear the case is being re-examined by a police task force 50 years later.

Jean Mocharski's death is being examined by Project Devote, a joint investigation by RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Service into unsolved missing-person and homicide cases.

Each of the task force's cases, some dating back to the 1960s, involves a victim of high or extremely high risk due to factors such as a transient lifestyle, substance abuse, mental health issues and involvement in the sex trade.

Mocharski was found dead near the Alexander Docks in Winnipeg in 1961.

Her death traumatized her seven children, at least two of whom are currently homeless, says Christine Mocharski, who married the victim's grandson.

"She was a very caring mother … [a] kind, very nice person, and she did have a drinking problem, though," Christine Mocharski told CBC News Monday from Vancouver.

Mocharski said Jean's children were raised by their father in British Columbia, but they struggled with their mother's death.

A major part of the children's pain came from how their mother was portrayed after her death as a sex-trade worker, a claim the family has denied, Mocharski said.

"What they were told, what people thought of their mother — basically it's ruined most of their lives," she said.

"They made her out to be a very bad, non-caring person," she added.

"In fact, she was a good mother, a caring person, you know, who struggled to raise the children."

Mocharski said she cannot understand why police are renewing their focus now on Jean's case.

"I honestly don't think that they'll find out what happened," she said.