Investigations into how two Indigenous teenagers died in Thunder Bay, Ont., in May are still ongoing, and while Ontario's chief coroner says "significant" progress has been made, he added there's still a lot of work to do.
Tammy Keeash, 17, from North Caribou Lake First Nation and Josiah Begg, 14, from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug both went missing while in Thunder Bay on May 6. Their bodies were found in different places along the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway later the same month, about a week-and-a-half apart.
"It's hard to ever be satisfied when we're investigating deaths because someone's lost their lives, but as far as the approach and the work, I've been very pleased with the way that the [police] services have worked together," Dirk Huyer said, adding that the work so far has been "collaborative" and "cooperative."
In June, Huyer announced that, at his request, the York Regional and Nishnawbe Aski Police Services would join Thunder Bay police in the investigations into the teens' deaths. Investigators report directly to him, he said.
That decision followed a call by First Nations leaders in May to have the RCMP take over probes into the deaths of Indigenous people in the Lakehead, something that, as a provincial chief coroner, Huyer said he couldn't do.
Since that time, Huyer said detectives have been busy going over the cases to get up to speed on what has already been done, and then determining possible next steps, such as additional interviews and seeking other expert opinions.
Huyer added that a "key component" of the work being done has been contact with the families; investigators have also travelled to Keeash's and Begg's home communities, he said.
"[Police are] regularly updating me and we're talking about the approach that they take and the steps they're taking," Huyer said.
Huyer added that anyone who may have information is being encouraged to contact the investigating police services.
Both Thunder Bay and York Regional police have referred media inquiries to the chief coroner's office.