Justice march in Akwesasne for Kenny Leaf

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Justice march in Akwesasne for Kenny Leaf
Anna Wilana photo.

AKWESASNE – On July 27, 2018, police confirmed to Kenny Leaf’s family that his remains were found and identified two days prior in St. Regis on July 25. The case was ruled as a homicide.

One year later, on Saturday, July 27, 2019, a justice march remembering Leaf will take place in Akwesasne, in hopes of encouraging anyone who knows more information about the homicide to come forward as there have been no leads in police investigations.

“The implications of this has been so detrimental to our family…the pain and trauma…there is no place to heal, no justice…it’s like a black hole…we worked so hard to bring him home,” said Jennifer Leaf, Kenny’s sister.

Members of the march can meet at TVI (formerly 3 Feather’s Casino — the building across from Bear’s Den on route 37) between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. before walking to the Kanienkahaka Kaianerehko:wa Longhouse (next to Wild Bills on Route 37).  There will be a fire and tobacco burning that will last 365 minutes to symbolize each day that Leaf’s family has been waiting for justice.

Leaf’s family is confident that people in the community know more about the homicide as an anonymous tip is what led police to discover Leaf’s remains. She believes people may be afraid, or afraid for their family members.

“We ask that people remember the kind of man he was, and how he was loved and how his two babies…his little girl Kenni Leaf (three-months-old) and son Kyro Leaf (one-year-old)…are growing up without a dad,” said Jennifer, who also noted the grief of Leaf’s other children, Kandy Pierce, Brandy Pierce, Kelly Pierce and Jesse Benedict.

“As most people know, Kenny had been missing for 196 days, from January to July (2018)…since he has been found, there has been no arrests. I believe the police continue to work on this investigation and ask for the public’s help, if they know something…it’s a very heinous crime for such a small, close knit community…so we are really hoping that more tips will come in so that we will begin to heal,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer said that learning more about what happened to her brother is integral for her family to start healing.

“He meant a lot to so many people and we are lost in different ways without him…and it’s hard for myself to believe his spirit can truly continue on its journey when his family is so hurt still…i don’t think it can, because of our traditions,” said Jennifer.

Leaf’s family is eternally grateful for the hundreds of hours volunteer fire staff spent searching fields and waterways for Leaf,  as well as volunteers and other first responders.

“We couldn’t have gotten through that difficult period without the love and support from our community…I kayaked the swamps looking for my brother’s body…I wasn’t alone, there was his children and community members and a lot of people,” said Jennifer, who noted that the community raised reward money for anyone who would come forward.

Jennifer said there are many police jurisdictions still involved in the investigation, including Akwesasne Mohawk Police Services (AMPS), Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, OPP and more. She especially thanked Chief Shawn Dulude for all of his efforts.

Jennifer encourages anyone who might know more to contact any of the following departments:

St. Regis Tribal Police at 518-358-9200

Surete du Quebec at 1-800-659-4264

Akwesasne Mohawk Police at 613-613-575-2000

“There are so many beautiful things about Akwesasne…and we know there are people out there who know (more) and we really want them to come forward,” said Jennifer emotionally.

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