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Raymond Eagle in hospital with his father, Tom Eagle, in 2007. A coroner's inquest will be held into Eagle's death in March. ((CBC))

The Northwest Territories' coroner will hold an inquest into the death of Raymond Eagle, a Yellowknife man who died after being in a coma for more than three years.

Chief coroner Cathy Menard announced Thursday that an inquest will be held in March to determine the circumstances of Eagle's death, as well as find ways to prevent similar deaths from happening in the future.

"We're not looking for fault or blame, so our investigation is quite basic. It's who, what when, where and why," Menard told CBC News.

Eagle, a 48-year-old homeless person, died in January but had been in a coma since August 2006, after he had spent hours in RCMP custody.

Eagle was initially taken to Stanton Territorial Hospital after he was discovered with visible head injuries at a Yellowknife trailer park.

While he was being treated, Eagle told hospital staff he had been beaten up, according to his family, who claim that he even provided the names of his alleged attackers.

But instead of being released from hospital, Eagle was handed over to the RCMP. Family members said he spent about 10 hours in police custody.

Eagle was brought back to the hospital when he began vomiting blood. He was flown to an Edmonton hospital for neurosurgery, but he never regained consciousness.

RCMP have said there was not enough evidence to lay criminal charges in connection with the alleged assault.

A coroner's inquest is mandatory in Eagle's case because he had spent time in police custody prior to his death.

The RCMP officers who handled Eagle's case, as well as the hospital workers who treated him, are likely expected to testify at the inquest.

"The family has been waiting quite a while. This has been a long road for them," Menard said.