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'She had so much love in her heart': What happened to Tricia Beck?
VANCOUVER -- Isaiah Beck remembers his mother Tricia as someone who always thought of others, no matter what she was going through in her life.
"She was strong as hell. Strongest woman I ever knew," Beck said. "She had so much love in her heart and she was always thinking about us, even through every part of her addiction."
Beck and his family have now been left grieving, and with many unanswered questions, after Tricia was found dead in her BC Housing run apartment in Vancouver in February.
The 46-year-old’s parents say a worker in her building contacted them after the funeral, and said Tricia had appeared to be very ill and was having trouble walking in the days leading up to her death.
They were told a mental health team was called to check on the mother of six, including a doctor and nurse, and they came by on the morning of the day she died. They were also told another BC Housing worker was asked to keep an eye on her when the team left.
But Tricia was never taken to the hospital.
“Who was in there, and why would they not call 911?" Beck said. "Things like that shouldn’t happen when you have nurses in a building and you’ve got cameras and just like, all the necessities there to take care of people like that. It’s just something that really shouldn’t happen, in my opinion.”
Tricia’s death is now under investigation by the Major Crime Section of the Vancouver police, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the coroner. It’s been almost five months, and her family still does not know her cause of death.
"I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened, and I’m just kind of looking for some closure as to what happened exactly," Beck said. "I’m so confused at this point. I don’t know what’s going on."
Beck said he last saw his mother in January, when he helped her bring home a couch. He also dropped his older brother off at her place towards the end of the month but had a hard time finding parking and didn’t go inside.
"I wish I would have gone in, obviously now," Beck said.
Beck said he had also texted with his mother later that month, and she seemed to be doing well.
"She had been doing good for a couple months. She was just on the suboxone, that was kind of like the last thing she had to really kick," Beck said, and added his mother struggled with mental illness. "Our last talk was a very good talk."
After Tricia’s death, Beck went to her apartment, and immediately discovered something wasn’t right.
"I noticed it was trashed completely," he said, and added there were also some items he couldn’t locate. "Like totally not like her at all, so right off the bat I suspected something was kind of off."
Beck said his mother liked to keep her door open and welcomed people in. He said she felt safe in the building on Jackson Avenue, especially after leaving her last building following a break-in and assault.
"I didn’t hear anything from the front desk. They didn’t say anything to me when I went in to collect her stuff or anything like that," Beck said. "I didn’t even get like a 'sorry for your loss' or anything like that. It was kind of an eerie feeling in the building."
Tricia’s story has brought a lot of emotions to the surface for Chelsea Brent. She lost her mother Tracy Gundersen in 2018, a death which also prompted an investigation and ultimately changes to the 911 system, after first responders were not able to reach Gundersen until 35 minutes after she called for help from her building in the Downtown Eastside.
“My heart shattered,” Brent said, describing her response to Tricia’s story. “I didn’t know what to think or what to say. It brought up a lot of anger for me, naturally.”
Brent started an initiative, the Somebody’s Someone Project, to challenge the stigma surrounding addiction and homelessness and encourage people to connect with each other’s humanity.
"I want it to create a fire in people, to say this shouldn’t be how it is," Beck said of Tricia’s story. "Tricia shouldn’t have died the way she did. Her family should have the answers they deserve."
Late last week, the Vancouver police sent CTV an email outlining more details about their attendance at Tricia’s building on the week of her death. Initially, police said they only had a record of their mental health car, Car 87, showing up on February 9th, the day Tricia’s body was found. They have since clarified police attended her residence on February 6th in response to a noise complaint, and also called in paramedics, who “cleared her medically”, according to the email. Police say they attended again on February 8th to take her to the hospital on a mental health warrant. Initially, police told CTV this was due to a missed medical appointment. According to the email: “There was no answer after several door knocks”, and officers left.
What Tricia’s family really wants to know is why no one called 911, and why she was left alone. Her parents said they were later told there may have been a miscommunication, where a non-emergency number was called instead. But there is still no clear explanation of what happened. Neither Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) or BC Housing agreed to interviews with CTV, citing privacy and the ongoing review. In a statement last week, BC Housing said the process being led by VCH "will help determine what future steps can be taken by the agencies involved in this to prevent tragedies like this in the future."
Beck said he wants to hear first-hand information about what happened to his mother, someone who he said was thoughtful and "remembered all the small things."
"When I went and cleared out her place, I found gifts that she was planning on sending out to all of us," he said. "I was always there for her. And she was always there for me."