Saskatchewan·Video

Sask. RCMP to review police probe into Nadine Machiskinic's death

Regina's police Chief Evan Bray has asked the Saskatchewan RCMP to review the investigation into the death of Nadine Machiskinic. She died after falling 10 storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in 2015.

'I don't really have confidence, but I can hope for the best outcome': Delores Stevenson

Delores Stevenson said her niece Nadine Machiskinic, who died after falling 10 storeys down a laundry chute, was disregarded as a drunk in the subsequent investigation. (CBC News)

Saskatchewan RCMP will review the investigation by the Regina Police Service into Nadine Machiskinic's death.

Police have not discovered any new information and the case isn't active.

Machiskinic, an Indigenous woman and mother of four, died after she fell 10 storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in Regina on Jan. 10, 2015. 

The RCMP review comes at the request of Regina police Chief Evan Bray.

"The family had some concerns with the police investigation," Bray told CBC News. "Once the review is done, we'll see if there's any recommendations or anything found that they suggest we could or should do different." 

He's hopeful the family will find comfort that an outside agency will conduct an independent review, which is in the preliminary stages. 

Machiskinic's aunt, Delores Stevenson, says she received a call from an RCMP officer Thursday morning. He told her they were going to review the file.

Stevenson is skeptical of the review because of her experiences with the justice system.

"I don't really have confidence, but I mean I can hope for the best outcome," Stevenson said. "I would actually like to see the case reopened." 

At the very least, she said, she desires results more satisfying than those that came from the coroner's inquest. It took 60 hours after Machiskinic's death for police to be notified. The delay was due to the initial belief that Machiskinic died from an overdose.

By the time police arrived, the area where Machiskinic was found within the hotel had been cleaned by staff.

Bray admits there were mistakes made during the investigation, like a delay in sending the toxicology samples away for testing.

"I've said quite publicly that while there were a couple of delays that happened during the investigation — that were absolutely our fault — it didn't change the outcome of the investigation," he said.

"This is just one way of being transparent and open and showing faith in the investigation."

Bray said a review like this is extremely rare, but it's a chance to give Machiskinic's relatives the closure they need.

"It's not very common, but to me it was an effort to try and reach out to the family in one last way."

Aunt calls for boycott of Delta Hotel

A two-year battle with authorities investigating the death of Nadine Machiskinic has frustrations boiling over for her aunt.

Stevenson spoke at the Assembly of First Nations' annual general meeting in Regina on Wednesday evening. ​

Machiskinic was spotted getting into an elevator with two men shortly before she fell down the laundry chute. It would be an entire year before police began looking for the men. They have not been located. 

Nobody thought to consider anything except the stereotypes.- Delores  Stevenson

"We want justice for Nadine and we still don't have answers. We're on an ongoing lawsuit with the Delta Hotel," Stevenson said.

Stevenson has called for a boycott of the hotel, where AFN is holding its regional caucus sessions as part of this week's event.

A two-year battle with authorities investigating the death of Nadine Machiskinic has frustrations boiling over for her aunt. 0:58

On Thursday, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs released a statement supporting the boycott in a showing of solidarity for missing and murdered Indigenous women. 

The statement said the handling of the circumstances surrounding Machiskinic's death was "troubling and wrong."

A spokesperson for the hotel declined comment.

Earlier this year, the jury for the coroner's inquest into Machiskinic's death concluded her manner of death is "undetermined." That's contrary to the finding of a chief coroner, who concluded it was an accident.

At the time, Stevenson called for the police investigation to be reopened.

Stevenson said Wednesday she wants answers after hotel records, which could have potentially helped in the investigation, were incomplete when provided to police.

"Nobody thought to consider anything except the stereotypes," said Stevenson, who felt her niece was disrespected and disregarded as a drunk Indigenous woman who wandered into the chute.

Bray is adamant Machiskinic's Indigenous identity was not a factor in the delay. 


Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said police Chief Evan Bray said mistakes were made by police, including the 60-hour delay before the investigation began. In fact, police weren't notified for 60 hours. Bray was referring to different mistakes made during the investigation.
    Jul 28, 2017 10:10 AM CT

with files from Creeden Martell