SASKATOON – An Indigenous woman accused of faking her death and that of her son before illegally crossing the border into the United States has indicated her intention to go to trial.
Through counsel, Dawn Walker told Saskatoon provincial court that she intends to have a judge-alone trial.
Her lawyer Tara Boghosian said Walker has also waived her right to a preliminary inquiry.
A judge recently changed a ban allowing for Walker’s name to be published.
Walker and her seven-year-old child were reported missing in July after her pickup truck was found near a river at a park south of Saskatoon. Some people feared Walker and her son had drowned in the South Saskatchewan River.
It prompted a missing persons investigation and extensive community searches.
Two weeks later, the mother and son were found by U.S. authorities in Oregon City, Ore. She was transferred back to Saskatchewan after waiving a formal extradition process.
Court documents filed in the United States said the woman “thoughtfully planned and engaged in an elaborate ruse in which she faked her death and that of her son.”
The woman’s lawyers and relatives have alleged she was a victim of domestic violence. The child’s father has said he would never hurt her or the boy.
Walker is a well-known author and was the chief executive officer for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
In a statement to The Canadian Press through a lawyer last year after her arrest, Walker apologized to anyone she hurt, but said she “was left with no choice.”
She faces nine charges, including public mischief, child abduction, forging a passport, possessing forged documents, identity theft and identity fraud.
She also faces two charges in the U.S. related to identity fraud for allegedly crossing the border with fake identification.
She was granted bail in September and is to next appear in court Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2023.