Inmate death toll at EMDC climbs to 14 after weekend fatality

Another inmate at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre died Sunday, prompting families who've lost loved ones to expand the memorial of crosses outside the jail.

The victim has not been identified nor the cause of death, but families will erect a cross outside the jail

(Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Another inmate at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre has died, prompting families who've lost loved ones to expand the number of memorial of crosses outside the jail.

It is the 14th death inside the troubled London facility in the past ten years.

"The ministry can confirm that a male inmate at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre was found in medical distress yesterday," said Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Andrew Morrison in an email. 

"An ambulance was called and the inmate was quickly transported to hospital. The inmate was pronounced deceased at the hospital," Morrison wrote. 

While the cause of Sunday's fatality is still under investigation by the coroner, multiple inmates have died of drug overdose.

Others have died by suicide or alleged untreated illness. One inmate, Adam Kargus, was beaten to death by a fellow prisoner in 2013. 

Families have recently being paying tribute to lost ones by erecting a personalized cross along the fence outside the jail. 

"I was hoping my brother would be the last," said Lynn Pigeau, whose brother James died of an apparent overdose in 2018.

"We're going to be putting cross number 14 up at the jail and if the government doesn't make change, we'll have to start a production line." 

Families of inmates who died inside EMDC meet regularly outside the jail to advocate for improvements. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Pigeau and other families have been holding weekly protests at EMDC. They're advocating for changes to security and improved mental health and addiction services. 

Many of the affected families are involved in a certified class-action lawsuit against the province for its role in running EMDC.

London police confirmed it's assisting the coroner with the investigation. The ministry said it's conducting an internal investigation to determine whether all policies and procedures were followed.

Inmates remembered: 

  • Laura Straughan died in 2009
  • Randy Drysdale died in 2009
  • Adam Kargus died in 2013
  • Keith Patterson died in 2014
  • Jamie High died in 2014
  • Floyd Deleary died in 2015
  • Justin Thompson died in 2016
  • Raymond G. Major died in 2017
  • Mike Fall died in 2017
  • Murray Davis died in 2017
  • Ron Jenkins died in 2017
  • Justin Struthers died in 2017
  • James Pigeau died in 2018
  • Unknown died March 31, 2019


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?