Mark Edward Grant is charged with first-degree murder in the 1984 death of 13-year-old Candace Derksen.

The last people who saw and spoke to Candace Derksen before the 13-year-old disappeared over 26 years ago testified at a murder trial Friday in Winnipeg, describing how she was seeking a ride home from school.

The schoolgirl's body was found, bound and frozen, in an industrial area in January 1985. Mark Edward Grant. 47, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

David Wiebe, a schoolmate and friend of the teen, recounted how, on the day that Derksen disappeared — Nov. 30, 1984 — they had engaged in a playful snowball fight. He said he also apologized to her because he didn't have a driver's licence and couldn't give her a lift home.

Wiebe said Derksen told him it was not a big deal and she was just going to walk home.

The trial also learned, through a statement provided by Derksen's mother, about two very brief phone calls the girl made the same day.

Wilma Derksen outlined how the day had begun normally, with her daughter heading off to school. Candace called home in the afternoon to see if a family shopping excursion — one of her favourite activities — was likely that day and whether she could get a ride home.

Her mother explained that, with two younger children underfoot at home, she couldn't make it and Candace's father was also not able to get her, so the girl would have to walk home. It was the last conversation between mother and daughter.

Grant was arrested and charged in May 2007 and committed in the fall of 2009 to stand trial in the Court of Queen's Bench.

The trial continues Monday.