Teen was found dead in B.C. care home days after reported missing, chiefs group says
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- First Nations leaders are calling for a public inquiry into the death of a 17-year-old boy who they say was found hanging in an Abbotsford group home closet, four days after being reported missing.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, B.C. Assembly of First Nations, and the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada outlined details around the teen's death in a joint statement released Tuesday.
“There obviously wasn’t a thorough enough search by staff of this home, nor by the police,” said B.C. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee.
On Sept. 14, the release states an employee of the group home informed the victim’s mother the teen was missing. The following day, Abbotsford police were called.
Then four days later on Sept. 18, his body was found in his bedroom closet, the statement says.
“What happened that you didn’t know a child was in the room for four days but you reported the child missing?" questioned Kukpi7 Judy Wilson of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
“I can’t imagine what his family is going through. It’s horrendous and it shouldn’t happen,” she said.
Lawyers for the family argued the death should be independently investigated.
First Nations leaders accuse officials of deeming it a suicide too quickly, and want an autopsy done to determine the exact cause of death.
"I think it’s sadly an issue of racism,” said Teegee. “It seems Indigenous people aren’t worthy of a thorough investigation.”
Abbotsford police confirmed they were notified of his disappearance on Sept. 15.
“The youth was familiar to police as a result of previous missing person reports. At the time of the Sept. 15 report, there was no indication that he was suicidal, or using drugs or alcohol,” the department wrote in a statement.
“Several officers completed multiple searches, day and night, until the youth was located.”
The BC Coroners Service told CTV News its investigation is still ongoing.