Publication ban lifted in case of alleged assisted suicide

The publication ban in the case of an alleged assisted suicide in Hinton last month has now been lifted.

Defendant has been ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment

The publication ban in a case of alleged assisted suicide in Hinton has now been lifted.

The body of 79-year-old Shirley Vann was found inside a car with American plates that was parked outside the Hinton Healthcare Centre on May 10.

Although Vann’s body had no obvious injuries and the autopsy results are not yet complete, the Crown has reported there is some indication she may have been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Hinton RCMP charged Vann’s daughter, 53-year-old Linda McNall with assisting in her mother’s suicide — an offence that carries a maximum 14 year jail sentence.

At that time charges were laid, a justice of the peace agreed to a temporary publication ban on the names of the alleged victim and the accused, which was lifted on Wednesday.

McNall remains in police custody. She made her first appearance in court on Wednesday via video, but did not speak.

McNall’s lawyer told the court the defendant may have a mental disorder which would mean she cannot be found criminally responsible. She has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

While details are still forthcoming, CBC reporter Janice Johnston has learned that McNall and her mother had been living in an apartment in Sierra Vista, Arizona prior to the incident in Hinton — but left town abruptly without paying rent.

They then traveled to Alberta where sources say they spent at least some time living in a tent north of Hinton.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston and the Canadian Press