New Brunswick

Sabrina Polchies's 2010 death still raises questions with family

The family of Sabrina Polchies, a Mi’kmaq woman from the Elsipogtog First Nation, is continuing to raise questions about her 2010 death, even though the RCMP ruled out foul play.

Mary Agnes Polchies feels her daughter's 2010 death wasn't properly investigated by the RCMP

Sabrina Polchies was found dead in a Salisbury aprartment in 2010 at the age of 22. Foul play was ruled out by police, but her parents think she was murdered. (Facebook)

Sabrina Polchies, a Mi'kmaq woman from the Elsipogtog First Nation, moved to Moncton on Canada Day in 2010 to start a new life, but four days later she was found dead in a Salisbury apartment.

The RCMP ruled out foul play in her death six years ago, but members of her family believe Polchies was murdered.

It was July 1, 2010 and the 22 year-old posted, "Moving to Moncton whooo hoooo start a new life wish me luck."

But only a few days later the RCMP would be knocking on her parents door, with news Mary Agnes Polchies describes as out of a nightmare.

The moment still haunts her.

"Two RCMP came over and they said, 'We found an aboriginal woman dead in Moncton' and I knew, I knew that was my baby," she said.

Polchies had been worried about her 22-year-old daughter since the early hours of July 2, when she said she received a troubling phone call from Sabrina.

Polchies said her daughter sounded scared and said she didn't know where she was.

Polchies describes pleading with her daughter to get a civic address, as she heard men swearing aggressively.

"I can hear in the background, 'F--king squaw, you f--king bitch,'" she said.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, get out of there.'"

Polchies said that's when the line went dead. It was the last time she would ever speak to her daughter.

Body discovered on July 5

This is the Salisbury apartment where Polchies was found dead in July 2010. RCMP first deemed the death suspicious, until later in the week, the autopsy report, coroner’s report and evidence gathered led the RCMP to rule out foul play. (CBC)

RCMP say it was two days later that Sabrina Polchies was reported missing on July 4.

But her mother insists she dialled 911 as soon as that call ended. And followed up again the next day, on July 3, and again July 4.

The young woman's body was discovered on July 5 in a Salisbury apartment. Police said she died of a combination of alcohol and prescription medicine.

Foul play was ruled out on July 9.

But Polchies said she thinks the circumstances surrounding her daughter's death are too suspicious to be ignored.

She said she's heard rumours over the years suggesting that the men her daughter was with in the early hours of July 2, 2010, forcibly injected Sabrina with drugs, causing her death.

Wilson Polchies, Sabrina's father, said his daughter's cellphone was recovered from a dumpster days after she was found dead, he wonders why that didn't raise more red flags for police.

"Mostly what bothers me is there is no justice at all. They dropped it and that was all," he said.

Police investigation questioned

Six years after her daughter's death, Mary Agnes Polchies is still looking for closure. (CBC )

Mary Agnes Polchies is also dissatisfied with the investigation carried out by the RCMP.

She said she feels that once the autopsy revealed drugs in her daughter's system, she was written off.

"For like 25 minutes they did their job, just to look good on TV," she said.

"They did what they had to do because they were in public's eyes, but after you know, after when the public stopped caring that's when they stopped. 'Oh, she overdosed,' that's all."

Cases highlight pattern

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the pattern of "no foul play" being found in so many deaths of aboriginal women is worthy of assessment. (CBC)

A CBC News investigation found this is just one case of dozens where police say there is no evidence of foul play, but the families of missing and murdered indigenous girls and women maintain their loved ones may have been victims of homicide.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett commented on Thursday that the cases highlighted in the investigation show a pattern.

"This isn't just one time that this happened this seems to be way too common, she said.

Bennett expressed that the pattern of "no foul play" found in so many aboriginal women's deaths is worthy of assessment.

"I think it is a teachable moment for policing across this country to really look at the kinds of assumptions that are being made, the kinds of decisions that are being taken based on assumptions instead of based on fact," she said.

Roland Chrisjohn, an associate professor in the Department of Native Studies at St. Thomas University, said he agrees with the concerns raised by the minister.

Chrisjohn is writing a book about indigenous people and racism in Canada.

"The pattern of police under-investigation of indigenous deaths, particularly of women, is commonplace across Canada, and in my opinion another instantiation of Canada's institutionalized racism toward native peoples."

RCMP willing to meet family

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the Polchies family is welcome to contact their local RCMP detachment if they are looking for more information about their daughter's death. (RCMP/YouTube)

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh would not provide any specific details about the Polchies case.

But she said the Polchies family is welcome to contact their local RCMP detachment if they are looking for more information.

"The RCMP is always open to meeting with families to provide an update on investigations in their jurisdiction or to explain the reasons for the decision to close the file," she said.

Mary Agnes Polchies isn't interested in those reasons, she wants the file reopened and her daughter's death investigated more thoroughly.

After six years, she said she still struggles with the unanswered questions surrounding her daughter's death.

"I stopped crying so much, I mean I have bad days, I have really bad days, but not as much," she said.