Lisa Dudley's family wants her belongings back a decade after her death
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019 6:56PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2019 7:30PM PST
A B.C. family that holds the RCMP partially responsible for their daughter's death is in a new conflict with the force over the victim's personal belongings.
Lisa Dudley succumbed to gunshot wounds to the back of her head and neck in an air ambulance parked in a field near her Mission home in September of 2008.
An inquest into the 37-year-old's murder held a decade later revealed the disturbing details of her death, including how the RCMP officers who responded to a 911 call about the incident never got out of their cars to investigate.
Dudley's boyfriend, Guthrie McKay, had also been shot in the attack over a marijuana grow-op in their home. McKay died immediately. Dudley survived, but was paralyzed by her injuries and lay in the home for four days until a neighbour found her and called for help.
The ensuing investigation led to homicide detectives seizing a large number of items—including some of Dudley's personal belongings—from the property.
Now, her family is hoping to get them back, two years after making a request for the return of her belongings.
"We do want all of her belongings," said Mark Surakka, Dudley's stepfather. "When all the court cases and the sentencing and the legal issues are done, why do they not tell the families 'OK, you can now come and get the belongings of your loved one?' I mean, I just don't understand that."
In an email to CTV News, the RCMP said items seized as exhibits "will be disposed of as the court directs."
A notice sent to Dudley's family last month included numbered exhibits of things such as her jewelry and clothing.
According to the list, other items gathered during the investigation included keys to a Honda Civic and two pickup trucks, $2,900 in cash, bear spray, a money counter, a safe, bags containing hundreds of grams of marijuana and several cellphones.
For many of these items, the document does not indicate which of them belonged to Dudley and which were McKay's.
It's also unclear why there is no description for five of the 67 objects included on the list.
Dudley's family wants to ensure they have a complete list.
"People don't know that this happens. This is the way government works. This is the way policy works," Surakka said. "This is the cost, not only financial but emotional."
And the process isn't over for Dudley's family quite yet. They'll have to return to court at least twice later this spring before they can find out about collecting her belongings.
Inquest results in recommendations
The June 2018 inquest into Dudley's death resulted in nine recommendations ranging from reviews of training processes for the RCMP to a re-examination of existing bylaws.
Jurors heard testimony from Cpl. Michael White, one of the officers who was called to her home the night she was shot but never went inside.
White and another officer responded to a 911 call about possible gunfire, but never got out of the vehicles and never contacted the neighbour who made the call.
The inquest heard a recording of the conversation White had with the police dispatcher.
“Six gunshots in a row and a crash,” he could be heard saying before laughing.
“Yeah, exactly. Don't you love this?” the dispatcher replied.
The recommendations included that the RCMP Dispatch Services review its procedures and training to ensure that all employees thoroughly document all details reported by a complainant, and that they be reminded that all calls are recorded and can be made public through the Freedom of Information Act.
The jury also said that the RCMP should consider implementing a policy on following up on complaints in cases where someone might have been seriously hurt or killed and suggested the District of Mission amend its bylaws regarding the visibility of residential addresses from the street.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber, Kendra Mangione and The Canadian Press