Manitoba

Man who died in fall from 15th floor of St. James apartment building took drugs earlier in day, mom says

The mother of a man who died in a fall from the 15th floor of a St. James apartment complex says she saw him getting high earlier in the day.

Judy Borynsky says her 'generous' son recently started taking meth, had history with pills

Judy Borynsky shows a photo taken in 2009 of her son, Justin Davey, left. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The mother of a Winnipeg man who died in a fall from the 15th floor of a St. James apartment complex says she saw him getting high earlier in the day. 

Judy Borynsky said her son, Justin Andrew Davey, 30, died in front of the Courts of St. James, a Portage Avenue apartment complex, on Wednesday morning after leaving the Grace Hospital.

"The police came at 10:00 this morning and told me that he overdosed," said an emotional Borynsky. "I'm just so upset."

Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver confirmed officers were called to an apartment complex at about 3 a.m.

"It was a well-being call. We have an adult male who is deceased there," he told media late Wednesday morning.

Police were unable to release many details but did say they had gone to a call at about 12:50 a.m. Wednesday to a location on Portage Avenue. There, they found a man who needed medical attention. Carver called it a "non-police-related incident."
Judy Borynsky described her son Justin Davey as a funny, caring man who always made sure she was taken care of. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

They believe he was the same man who lay dead on the sidewalk hours later.

"We are viewing the incident as an accidental death," said Carver. "We've used the term accidental death for a specific reason."

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said health officials are working with police in their investigation into the death. A spokesperson refused to give details about Davey's time at the Grace Hospital.

'Always looked after me'

Borynsky called her son a funny, caring man who always made sure she was taken care of.

"He always looked after me. He always made sure that I had food and gas in the car, and he always bought me jewelry and clothes, you know. He always looked after me. He was very, very generous."

While he currently wasn't working, he liked to fix computers and Borynsky said he was good at it.

An old injury led Davey to pills, she added.

"He fell off a roof nine years ago, and he's got some injuries," she said. "And he always takes a bunch of pills — Xanax, Restoril — and he's recently started doing meth. Three or four times, he told me, he did it.
Judy Borynsky says her son, Justin Davey, was a funny and loving man but he recently started using meth. 2:40

"He did it in front of me — we used to live together. And he was in the basement doing meth and he freaked out. He's all paranoid, thinking someone was going to kill him."

Borynsky said she last saw her son at 2 p.m Tuesday, saying she picked him up and saw he was doing drugs with friends.

"Saw through the window, one of the girls had a glass pipe. And she hid it right away when I knocked on the door, but I heard, I saw."

Davey was living at the Boulevard Motel on Portage Avenue and had been there since May of last year, said Borynsky.

Had a huge heart, girlfriend says

She doesn't know the circumstances that led him to the Grace Hospital Wednesday or whether he was admitted. Borynsky also doesn't know if Davey wandered away or was released but said if he was released, it was a mistake to do so.
Davey's girlfriend, Shannon Paul, said Justin had a huge heart, was incredibly well-spoken and was a great person. (Submitted by Shannon Paul)

"For them to release him when he was all paranoid and stuff like that, they shouldn't have done that."

Borynsky pulled up in a vehicle at the Courts of St. James early Wednesday afternoon after learning about her son's death. She said she didn't know why he was there, or how he got into the building.

Several residents told CBC they heard a fire alarm going off at around 3 a.m. and a voice came over the intercom telling people to stay in their rooms.

Davey's girlfriend, Shannon Paul, said she was with him all day and all night preceding the accident.
Winnipeg police investigate at the Courts of St. James on Wednesday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

She did not want to comment on how he died but said she wants people to remember the man she loved for the past year and a half.

She said he had a huge heart, was incredibly well-spoken and was a great person. 

Phone calls to Globe Management Properties, which manages the Courts of St. James, were not immediately returned.

In the meantime, Borynsky said she didn't know where her son's body was. "I just want to see him. I need to see him."

The last thing he said to her was simple.

"'Bye Mom.' He always says 'I love you,' when we leave each other."

About the Author

​Austin Grabish landed his first byline when he was just 18. He joined CBC in 2016 after freelancing for several outlets. ​​In 2018, he was part of a team of CBC journalists who won the Ron Laidlaw Award for the corporation's extensive digital coverage on asylum seekers crossing into Canada. This past summer, he was on the ground in northern Manitoba covering the manhunt for B.C. fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, which attracted international attention. Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca

With files from Jill Coubrough