HALIFAX -- Human remains found in Saint John, N.B., eight years ago are now confirmed to be those of a Moncton woman who was killed 16 years ago.

Cheryl Pyne was reported missing to the RCMP in August 2004. Investigators later determined that she had been the victim of a homicide, even though her body hadn’t been found.

In 2009, David Joseph Ouellette was convicted of manslaughter in the 27-year-old woman’s death and sentenced to life in prison.

Human remains were found in Saint John in 2012, but investigators were unable to identify them at the time.

Police continued to investigate Pyne’s homicide and, in November, the RCMP’s major crime unit requested a DNA sample from one of her family members. The sample was submitted to the National Missing Persons DNA Program, which was launched in 2018.

The RCMP say the family member's DNA was a positive match with the remains found in Saint John in 2012, making it the first time the program has been successfully used by the New Brunswick RCMP.

"No file is ever closed until it is solved," said Const. Hans Ouellette of the New Brunswick RCMP in a news release.

"We realize this has been a very difficult process for Cheryl's family, with many long years of waiting and wondering. We're grateful that Cheryl has finally been located after all this time, and we hope the identification of her remains may lead to new information coming forward about her mother's death."

Pyne’s mother, 45-year-old Kathryn Pyne-Welner of Moncton, was also the victim of a homicide in 2005. Her case has never been solved and police continue to seek information about her death.

Cheryl Pyne and Kathy Pyne-Welner

Cheryl Pyne is seen with her mother, Kathy Pyne-Welner. (RCMP)


While Pyne’s family says they are feeling “deep relief” after her remains were identified, they admit they are also feeling frustrated that it took so long.

“The family is a little frustrated knowing that Cheryl's remains were found eight years ago, in 2012, and the system has let us down,” said Trudy Welner, Pyne’s sister, in a statement released on behalf on her family.

“We're trying our best to have closure under the circumstances. Because of the weather and what the world is going through right now, laying her to rest has been postponed. At the same time, we are thankful for the officers and detectives who have worked hard to bring us these results.”

Welner says her sister was outgoing, always looked on the bright side, and made a positive impression on many people during her 27 years.

“Although her life ended tragically, the time she spent with friends and family was memorable, and full of pride and joy,” she said.

“She would go out of her way to help anyone in need. Cheryl has been missed dearly since her disappearance.”

A funeral service and burial will be held at a later date in the spring at Alderwood Cemetery in Riverview, N.B., where Pyne will be buried with her mother.

The family continues to appeal to the public for information about the death of Kathy Pyne-Welner.

“Both Cheryl Pyne and Kathy Pyne-Welner had families and friends who loved them. They were women who poured their heart and soul into their family, and friends who became their family. They both were somebody's sister, mother, daughter - they were human beings and had the right to be treated as such,” said Welner.

“Even though we have found enormous waves of solace with outpouring love and support from our friends and family, this is still a difficult time, not knowing the events that preceded our mother's death.”

Anyone with information about Kathryn Pyne-Welner's death is asked to contact the Major Crime Unit at 1-888-506-RCMP (7267). Information can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.