RCMP to review VPD’s work following Chelsea Poorman’s death

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RCMP have been asked to look into the Vancouver Police Department’s investigation into the disappearance and death of Chelsea Poorman, whose remains were discovered in April in the backyard of a vacant Shaughnessy mansion.

The 24-year-old Kawacatoose First Nation member was reported missing in September 2020, two days after leaving a friend’s apartment in the 1200 block of Granville Street, possibly to meet a new baby. friend.

On July 21, Vancouver Deputy Chief Fiona Wilson told the Vancouver Police Commission that the department had contacted the RCMP assistant. Com. Will Ng to have the RCMP conduct a review of the Poorman Inquiry files.

Wilson said the goal is “to make sure there isn’t another angle we could be looking at, or an investigative step we missed – and to take some advice from their review, to move forward to see if we can move the file forward.”

“The investigation into the circumstances of Ms. Poorman’s disappearance and death remains open and ongoing,” said Wilson, who did not say how long the review would take.

20 month survey

When police announced in May that Poorman’s remains had been found by contractors working on the vacant home in the 1500 block of West 36th Avenue, they said Poorman likely died on or shortly after the night of her disappearance. .

Police said they notified the BC Coroners Service immediately after Poorman’s remains were found, but no cause of death has been determined. Police also said they do not consider the woman’s death suspicious, although the family have publicly stated that Poorman’s skull and some fingers are missing from her body.

const. Tania Visintin, the VPD’s media relations manager, said Monday the department’s findings were based on evidence gathered during a 20-month investigation, which began the day Poorman went missing.

“Information from the Coroners Service forms part of this investigation, but is not the sole basis upon which our conclusions are made,” Visintin said in an email. “The evidence we have gathered so far does not lead us to believe that his death was the result of a crime. We are however continuing to investigate.

“Second Pair of Eyes”

Until Poorman was discovered, her stepfather, Mike Kiernan, had traveled from Saskatoon to Vancouver in a van, which he covered with photographs and notices featuring Chelsea in the hope that someone would contact him about his disappearance.

In an interview Monday, July 25, Kiernan said he was encouraged to learn that another police department was reviewing the VPD’s file on Poorman’s disappearance and death.

“Certainly glad to get a second look at it,” he said by phone from Saskatoon, where he is back. “I don’t know if the RCMP would be my choice, but it’s interesting that they do that. I wonder what finally brought them to this. It could be media pressure, it could be many, many things.

Kiernan has been clear in previous interviews with reporters that he is unhappy with the VPD’s work on the investigation, saying he believes more attention would have been given to the search for his daughter if she was not aboriginal; the VPD denied the charge.

Kiernan also shared that he broke into the vacant home on whose property his daughter’s remains were discovered, where he said he found personal effects believed to be from Chelsea’s purse.

“There’s a lot of DNA evidence out there – a lot of stuff that can be investigated,” he said, noting that he later told police what he had. do. “They didn’t touch anything and left it there.”

‘Unlikely to satisfy the family’

Police said the VPD’s Missing Persons Unit and Major Crimes Section investigated Poorman’s disappearance. Visintin described the investigation as detailed and complex, with a number of investigative techniques used to gather evidence and information that could lead to finding Poorman.

“As investigators, we must always base our conclusions on facts and evidence,” she said, reiterating that police do not believe Poorman’s death is suspicious. “After careful consideration of all available facts and information, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that his death was the result of a crime.”

Visintin added: “We know this news is unlikely to satisfy the family, friends and members of the community who knew Chelsea, loved her and believe her death must have been the result of foul play.”

Kiernan said Poorman and one of her sisters got into a fight the night she left the Granville Street apartment. She later contacted her sister to tell her she was with her new “bae”, which Kiernan and others interpreted as a new boyfriend.

Kiernan said police also interviewed another man linked to Poorman, with the two having a brief contact on social media the night he disappeared.

“It does not make sense”

Despite the police finding the case, Kiernan believes his daughter was killed somewhere in town before being moved to Shaughnessy’s estate.

“It makes no sense,” he said, noting Chelsea’s skull was missing when his remains were discovered. “A cell phone is missing, his camera is missing, his ID is missing.”

The deputy chief told the police commission last Thursday that it’s not uncommon for another agency to review a case, particularly if the case is difficult or complex.

Wilson pointed out that this was done in 2019 during a multi-agency police operation – “Project Territory” – which resulted in 92 charges related to firearms, drugs and the seizure of several muscle cars from the years 1960.

Police continue to ask anyone with information about Chelsea Poorman’s disappearance who has not yet come forward to contact the VPD Major Crime Section at 604-717-2500.

[email protected]

@Howellings

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