Arrest brings relief to Pang residents
“We’re going to have a good night’s sleep, that’s for sure.”
With a pock-marked face and spottily-shaved head, Tommy Nuvaqiq leaned forward in his seat and nodded quietly to advice given by his lawyer when he appeared in court this past Monday.
The 23-year-old Pangnirtung resident faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offense. Police arrested Nuvaqiq on July 16.
Nearly one month ago, a 31-year-old woman was dragged from her bed, raped and savagely beaten in Nuvaqiq’s home community. Near death, she crawled to her neighbour’s porch, where they found her covered with blood and unconscious.
She was medevaced to an Ottawa hospital where she arrived in critical condition. Her state has since improved. She’s now conscious and in stable condition.
When Nuvaqiq arrived in court, he hid his face inside his blue collared shirt as RCMP escorted him from their police cruiser through the back entrance of the building.
A publication ban prevents details revealed in court that day from being published.
The attack has cast a pall over the Baffin community of about 1,400, which its mayor, Jack Maniapik, says will be difficult to shake.
“I don’t know if it’ll ever go back to normal again. We’re definitely wounded from the incident.”
Still, he says residents share a sense of relief now that an arrest has been made. “We’re going to have a good night’s sleep, that’s for sure.”
Tests done on forensic evidence were one reason why the arrest came several weeks after the attack, said Cpl. Anna Marie Mallard, the detachment commander in the community.
The investigation drew seven members of the RCMP major crimes unit from Iqaluit and a police dog into the community, who worked with the four resident RCMP officers. The hamlet worked closely with police, relaying information they received through phone calls from residents.
Police aren’t likely to make more arrests in connection with the crime, despite earlier reports that suggested there was more than one assailant. It now appears there was a single attacker.
Nuvaqiq is to make his next court appearance on August 24.