Beverly Elanik, Inuvik woman who died in RCMP custody, remembered as 'joyful'
51-year-old had alcohol addiction, schizophrenia; family doesn't suspect wrongdoing in death
The family of a 51-year-old woman who died in RCMP custody say they don't suspect any wrongdoing by Inuvik police.
Beverly Elanik died while she was incarcerated at the Inuvik RCMP detachment on Sunday. The Medicine Hat Police Service is conducting an external review of the incident.
"It was a medical situation and she went fast. So that was a relief for us," said Eileen Edwards, Elanik's mother.
Edwards said Medicine Hat officers told her Elanik experienced a seizure while in custody. They also said preliminary results showed her daughter's heart was enlarged and some of her veins were clogged at the time of death.
A press release Tuesday from the RCMP said Elanik was intoxicated when she was arrested on Jan. 9. She was taken to the hospital, where medical staff said she was fit to be incarcerated. RCMP took her to the detachment to sober up. When she was being processed to leave the following day, police say she went into "medical distress."
"We knew the members attending her when it happened," Edwards said.
"I usually ask them to keep an eye on her. If she's still intoxicated let her sleep it off."
'She was so joyful'
Edwards said her daughter suffered from alcohol addiction and was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but she wants people to remember Elanik as a loving mother of five children, and as someone who lit up the room.
"She was a happy-go-lucky person. She was so joyful. She had a way of making people laugh," Edwards said.
Edwards gave Elanik up for adoption when she was young, but she said her home was always open to her daughter.
"That's the reason we kept our door open at night," Edwards said. "Now we can lock it."
The family is still making funeral arrangements.