New Brunswick

Coroner inquest ordered in death of Wolastoqey inmate from COVID-19

A coroner’s inquest has been ordered into the death of Skyler Sappier, a 28-year-old member of the Neqotkuk First Nation who died of COVID-19 Monday morning.

Skyler Sappier was fully vaccinated, according to Neqotkuk Chief

Skyler Sappier, 28, was a member of the Neqotkuk First Nation, formerly known as Tobique First Nation. (Submitted by Joanne Barlow)

A coroner's inquest has been ordered into the death of Skyler Sappier, a 28-year-old member of the Neqotkuk First Nation who died Monday of COVID-19, according to his family.

Sappier had been ill for a few days at Saint John Regional Correctional Centre before he was taken to the hospital on Saturday, according to Neqotkuk Chief Ross Perley, who spoke earlier to CBC on behalf of the family.

Acting chief coroner Michael Johnston announced Wednesday that an inquest would be held, but the presiding coroner, schedule, and location haven't been confirmed.

No foul play or self-harm are suspected in Sappier's death, the Department of Justice and Public Safety said in a news release. The department did not say Sappier had been ill with COVID-19. Department spokesperson Geoffrey Downey said details of an individual's health history are protected under privacy legislation.

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Sappier's family was told he had the virus, Perley said. He'd been fully vaccinated and received his booster shot, according to Perley, and the family hadn't indicated there were any underlying health conditions.

At the inquest, the presiding coroner and jury will publicly hear evidence to determine the facts surrounding Sappier's death.

The jury will have an opportunity to recommend ways to prevent similar deaths.



Raechel Huizinga

Writer and social media presenter

Raechel Huizinga is a CBC writer and acting Social Media Presenter based in Moncton, New Brunswick. You can reach her at