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Arrest made in murder of Kwantlen elder

Kwantlen elder George Antone, 71, was found dead in his home in March, 2011. A woman has now been charged in his death. She has appeared in court in Quebec City; below: a woman speaks with an RCMP officer on McMillan Island after the body of Kwantlen elder George Antone was discovered in his home in March, 2011. - John Gordon - Langley Times file photo
Kwantlen elder George Antone, 71, was found dead in his home in March, 2011. A woman has now been charged in his death. She has appeared in court in Quebec City; below: a woman speaks with an RCMP officer on McMillan Island after the body of Kwantlen elder George Antone was discovered in his home in March, 2011.
— image credit: John Gordon - Langley Times file photo

An arrest has been made in the 2011 murder of a Kwantlen First Nations elder.

The Integrated Homicide investigation Team announced Tuesday that Michelle Marie Serdar,  42,  has been charged with second-degree murder. She was arrested in Quebec City after an extensive investigation and will be transported to B.C. to face the charges.

She is charged in the murder of George Antone, 71, whose body was discovered in his McMillan Island home on March 7, 2011.

Antone had been shot to death.

An extensive police investigation took place after Antone’s death, and there was a lot of concern among the  Kwantlen First Nation people about the fact that a suspect had not been apprehended.

At a police news conference Tuesday, Kwantlen member Tumia Knott spoke about the tragedy.

“The family and community of Kwantlen continue to mourn the loss of our beloved elder George Antone.

“We wish for closure for the family; we pray that the truth will be revealed and for justice to prevail.

“Our Kwantlen family and George’s family are strong and we are determined to stay strong and walk together through this. We pray for justice and resolution.

“We also wish to thank the investigators for their long and diligent efforts in this matter.

“We look at today as one step closer for closure on this matter for our family who have been through so much.

“We await the judicial process to begin, as we continue to remember and mourn the loss of our dear elder.”

Not long before Antone’s death, former Langley Times photographer John Gordon interviewed the elder in his home for a feature which appeared in Sideroads magazine.

Antone lived on McMillan Island until he was seven years old. He was taken to a residential school for the next decade, living far from home.

The first residential facility was on Cooper Island, midway between Ucluelet and Bamfield. Later, he would be moved to one in Sechelt.

Life was tough for the children in residential homes, Antone told Gordon.

Some children tried to escape by swimming for shore. Most drowned, and when their parents came to visit them, they were told that their children had run away.

“The food was terrible,” Antone recalled. So bad, in fact, that as a 16-year-old he stood almost six feet tall but weighed only 127 pounds.

“It was real sad the way they treated us,” he said.

“We still got strapped every day, it was a very sad part of our lives, that residential school. My son got to go to school in Langley. He was lucky.”

The children were forbidden from speaking their own language.

“They told us to talk like them. We were called savages.”

When he finally left, he became a logger and fisherman.

“I still fish,” he said in the interview.

He praised Chief Marilyn Gabriel in the interview.

“Marilyn helps us when she can. She’s a good chief, she is making life better for us.”

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