Quebec’s police watchdog sends file on Nunavik teen’s death to prosecutors

Police failed to find 15-year-old Salluit girl who was later found dead

The bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, which investigates deaths and injuries that take place in connection with police operations, has sent its file on the death of a teenage girl last January in Salluit on to prosecutors. They will decide whether or not to lay charges against the Kativik Regional Police Force officers involved. (File photo)

By Jane George

Quebec’s independent police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, has referred to prosecutors its findings about the death of a 15-year-old girl during a Kativik Regional Police Force operation in Salluit on Jan. 27.

The BEI handed its file over to the director of criminal and penal prosecutions and the Quebec coroner’s office on Oct. 9.

Based on this report, prosecutors will determine whether it is appropriate to lay charges against the police officers involved, the BEI said on Oct. 11.

The BEI investigates deaths and injuries that take place in connection with police operations, but it does not always forward a report that results in charges being laid.

In three years, only two Quebec police officers have been charged after BEI investigations.

When the agency’s investigation into the Salluit teenager’s death first started, the BEI said it was the first time anyone there could recall investigating an incident in which a police search for a missing person later ended in the person’s death.

The BEI has offered the following timeline in a news release on the incident:

  • At about 3:45 a.m. on Jan. 27, a man called the KRPF’s emergency line to say that his daughter was missing and asked for help finding her.
  • At about 3:47 a.m., two police officers headed for the area indicated by the teenager’s father. The police searched and patrolled the area until about 4:30 a.m., but didn’t find the teenager.
  • Twelve hours later, at about 3:30 p.m., a resident discovered an “inanimate woman” under a house.
  • The death of the young woman was declared at 4:09 p.m. at the Salluit health centre.
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