Indigenous groups press VPD to renew investigation into Chelsea Poorman’s death – BC

Two prominent Indigenous groups in British Columbia are calling on the Vancouver Police Department to renew its investigation into Chelsea Poorman’s death.

Poorman, a member of Kwacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, was last seen September 6, 2020, in downtown Vancouver. Her skeleton was found on the grounds of an empty house in upscale Shaughnessy on April 22.

Vancouver police said the cause of her death may never be determined, but there was no evidence of foul play.

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On Thursday, both the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and the BC First National Council of Justice released statements condemning that conclusion and calling for a new investigation into how she died. .

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Saying “new details” had emerged in the case, the judiciary panel pointed to Poorman’s mother’s statement at a memorial service on Sunday that the coroner reported her daughter missing the box. skull and some fingers when she was discovered.

Click to play video: 'Grieve and anger ahead of Vancouver vigil honoring Chelsea Poorman'

Grief and anger ahead of Vancouver vigil honoring Chelsea Poorman

Grief and anger ahead of Vancouver vigil honoring Chelsea Poorman

“It is the duty of law enforcement to thoroughly investigate a death. If the coroner tells the family that the body is not intact and there is no explanation why, then an investigation should be conducted,” said Anita McPhee, a member of the judicial panel.

“It seems to us that the Vancouver Police Department has made a hasty ruling that no foul play was involved,” added council chairman Doug White QC.

“This makes me feel sick to my stomach because it’s a layoff policy approach when it comes to Indigenous women, leading to Investigate Pickton that revealed a dire perception of what indigenous women from the Downtown Eastside went through. “

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In its statement, UBCIC also raised questions around why Poorman’s body was not intact when it was found, along with the mobility problems the 24-year-old had at the time. making it difficult for her to come see Shaughnessy herself.

“The VPD thinks Chelsea likely died on this property the night she disappeared or shortly after. How is her death considered ‘unsuspicious’ since the VPD has no idea why she was in a locked and vacant house in Vancouver’s most expensive neighborhood? UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson said.

Wilson said the union wanted the VPD to publicly apologize for its “slow response” to Poorman’s missing person report, family trauma from police communications and the announcement of the case closed in a statement. news conference.

Click to play video: 'Chelsea Poorman's mother passes away with unanswered questions after remains discovered'

Chelsea Poorman’s mother passes away with unanswered questions after finding remains

Chelsea Poorman’s mother passes away with unanswered questions after finding remains

Grand Chief Stewart Philip said the “glacial speed of the investigation” and the conclusion of Poorman’s case were “symbolic” of the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

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He called on the VPD to reconsider the 231 calls for justice detailed in 2016 National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Indigenous Women and Girlsand apply them to Poorman’s case.

“We demand that the case continue to be investigated and that VPD withdraw their callous, hurtful and inaccurate statements,” Phillip said.

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Asked by a reporter last Friday whether the case would be closed during the press conference announcing Poorman’s findings, VPD spokesman Sgt. Steve Addison said “this is a missing person case and she is no longer missing.”

But in an email Thursday, VPD Const. Tania Visintin said police continue to urge anyone with information to come forward.

“The case was never closed and the investigation is still ongoing,” Visintin said.

In an earlier statement on Sunday, the department still insisted it took Poorman’s case seriously from the start.

“The Vancouver Police Department began investigating Chelsea Poorman’s disappearance the day she was reported missing, and the search continued until she was discovered,” said Visintin.

Visintin said the investigation involved senior homicide officers and both the Missing Persons Unit and the Main Crime Unit, who were pursuing “a number of investigative techniques.

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Click to play video: 'Chelsea Poorman's remains in the yard of an abandoned house in Shaughnessy'

The remains of Chelsea Poorman lie in the yard of an abandoned house in Shaughnessy

The remains of Chelsea Poorman lie in the yard of an abandoned house in Shaughnessy

“As investigators, we should always base our findings on facts and evidence. After carefully examining all the facts and available information, there is not enough evidence to suggest that her death was the result of a crime,” Visintin said.

After Sunday’s memorial service, Poorman’s mother said she would take her daughter home for a proper burial, but would return to Vancouver to continue her fight for answers about what happened to the little girl. .

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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