His murder appeared like just another statistic – Edmonton’s 11th homicide of 2019 – but it triggered a chain of events that seemed to lead to the brutal slaying of Tiki Laverdiere a province away.
In the darkness of a chilly spring morning – after being called to an inner city neighbourhood on 92 Street and 110 Avenue – Edmonton Police found a “significant amount of blood” on the ground behind a home. Hours later on April 5, 2019, the trail ended about 100 kilometres east where RCMP found a body in a burned out car near Vegreville. It was the body of 20-year-old Tristen Nicolas Morningeagle Cook-Buckle.
DNA analysis of the blood behind the Edmonton home matched that of Cook-Buckle and an autopsy confirmed his manner of death was homicide. To protect the integrity of their investigation, however, police, haven’t released his cause of death.
Neighbours told the Edmonton Journal they heard a loud bang shortly after 11 p.m. on April 4, 2019, and hours later, around 4 a.m., police arrived at the home.
Joseph Simons said the house was rented and lots of people “rolled through it.”
Edmonton Police Service took over the investigation into Cook-Buckle’s murder. The investigation remains open and is considered to be an active file, according to Inspector Brent Dahlseide from Edmonton Police Service’s Homicide Section.
“There has been no recent progress to advance the file past the identification of several persons of interest,” said Inspector Dahlseide.
He said the lines of communication between Edmonton Police Service and the RCMP Major Crimes Unit remains open because Cook-Buckle’s body was found near Vegreville.
“Any tips, leads or information that may be received on the file by either agency is shared with Edmonton Police homicide investigators.”
Edmonton Police have received tips but wouldn’t reveal how many.
“We cannot disclose the number of tips or their content outside the investigative team,” said Inspector Dahlseide.
No arrests have been made in Cook-Buckle’s murder.
If anyone has any information about Cook-Buckle’s homicide they are urged to contact the Edmonton Police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm
Tiki Laverdiere murdered
Weeks after Cook-Buckle’s body was found, his close friend, Tiki Laverdiere, 25, left Edmonton to attend his funeral in Saskatchewan in April and was murdered in North Battleford.
Laverdiere was reported missing to Battlefords RCMP May 12, 2019. Her body was found July 11, 2019, during an RCMP ground search in a rural area outside of North Battleford.
From July 2019 to August 2020, police arrested 10 people in Saskatchewan and Alberta for Laverdiere's murder. Nicole Cook, Soaringeagle Whitstone, Shayla Orthner, Danita Thomas, and Jesse Sangster were charged with kidnapping, first-degree murder, improperly interfering with a body and theft of a vehicle. Nikita Sandra Cook and Charles St. Savard were charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping. Brent Checkosis, Mavis Takakenew and Samuel Takakenew were charged with accessory to murder after the fact.
Checkosis was sentenced to seven years in prison and Mavis Takakenew received 18 months. There is a ban on publication on the sentencing hearings for Checkosis and Takakenew until the trials of all the co-accused are finished.