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Watchdog investigating police wellness check on woman on Saik'uz First Nation

Investigators from B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office are seen in this file photo from the IIO. Investigators from B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office are seen in this file photo from the IIO.

B.C.'s police watchdog has been called in to investigate a case where a woman was found dead on the Saik’uz First Nation nearly a month after police were sent to check on her welfare.

The Independent Investigations Office says it was contacted on Nov. 26 due to "concerns regarding the police response to a request for a wellness check," the agency said in a news release Wednesday.

The Vanderhoof RCMP confirmed to the IIO that officers were called to conduct a wellness check at a home on reserve on Oct. 11.

"Officers took steps but were unable to locate the affected person at the time," the statement from the IIO says.

On Nov. 5, the woman was found dead "within one kilometre" of the home, according to the IIO.

The IIO would not say if the woman was Chelsey Quaw – who was reported missing from the First Nation on the day of the wellness check and whose body was found on reserve the same day as the woman in this case.

"Legislation applicable to the IIO does not permit us to release the names of affected persons unless there is a strong public interest which requires such a disclosure," a spokesperson wrote in an email.

The Saik'uz First Nation is located 100 kilometres west of Prince George along Highway 16 – which is also known as the Highway of Tears because of the numerous cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women reported along the route. Fewer than 400 members live on the reserve where the woman's body was found.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Soencer Harwood Top Stories

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