PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - A veteran Saskatchewan Mountie is facing a charge of first-degree murder after police say a man's body was discovered in a wooded area.

Cpl. Bernie Herman, a 32-year member of the RCMP, was serving with the Prince Albert RCMP Traffic Services Unit at the time of his arrest. He is to appear in Prince Albert court on Thursday.

The officer, who turns 53 on Thursday, is accused of killing 26-year-old Braden Herman.

Investigators said the alleged killing took place while the officer was off duty, but few details have been released.

“The victim and the accused in this file are known to each other, but are not related,” a news release from the Prince Albert Police Service said Wednesday.

It said officers were called to a wooded area in the city Tuesday night after receiving a report that a man's body had been discovered.

An autopsy was to take place Thursday in Saskatoon.

Police also said officers have secured a vehicle and a home in Prince Albert as part of the investigation.

The service's criminal investigations division is leading the case, but city police have requested the appointment of an independent observer to oversee it.

“Any time someone's life is taken it is certainly tragic and just really sad,” said Charlene Tebbutt, media coordinator with the Prince Albert police.

In a release Wednesday night, Saskatchewan RCMP said Herman's duty status as a Mountie is in the process of being modified but did not say how.

“The RCMP has processes in place to handle conduct issues, including those as serious as the arrest announced today,” the release reads.

“Public trust is essential for the RCMP to effectively serve and protect Canadians. As a result, RCMP employees must conduct themselves in a manner that not only meets, but exceeds, the rightfully high expectations of Canadians.”

The RCMP said any information relating to the arrest and criminal investigation will be released by the Prince Albert Police Service.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021.