British Columbia

Woman's death in 5-storey fall a mystery

There is no evidence to support the contention that a young woman was pushed to her death when she fell five floors in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, a coroner says.
A small sidewalk memorial was set up for Ashley Machiskinic outside the Regent Hotel in the days after her death. (CBC)
A young woman who fell to her death from a Vancouver Downtown Eastside hotel window had a potentially lethal level of cocaine in her blood, but a coroner could not determine if she was the victim of foul play.

Ashley Machiskinic fell five floors to her death from the Regent Hotel on East Hastings Street Sept. 15, 2010, in an incident that some community workers felt was likely a homicide.

Outreach worker and former Vancouver police officer Dave Dickson knew Ashley Machiskinic well and said Friday it will probably never be known for certain why the 22-year-old Saskatchewan native died.

But Dickson has his theories.

"I still don't believe for a second she jumped out that window," he said.

After her death, Machiskinic’s friends accused police of ignoring evidence that she didn't commit suicide.

At a demonstration outside the Main Street police station in October 2010, some protesters alleged Machiskinic was pushed out the window for failing to pay a drug debt.

Investigation stymied

But the report from coroner Lisa Graham, obtained by CBC News, said several people were interviewed by police, including some who were alleged to wish her harm

Video surveillance yielded no incriminating data and both Machiskinic's body and her room showed no signs of a struggle.

Ashley Machiskinic was 22 when she died. (CBC)
The woman had consumed large amounts of cocaine and had been drinking alcohol, toxicology tests showed.

Dickson said he feels for investigators.

"To be fair to them, they can't take the next step until they've got somebody that steps up to the plate and says they were in the room and actually seen something."

The police investigation remains open.

With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor and Leah Hendry