Saskatchewan·Special Report

How did a Regina mom fall 10 storeys down a laundry chute to her death?

The family of Nadine Machiskinic, a mother of four who worked in the sex trade, says the 29-year-old fell to her death - 10 storeys down a hotel laundry chute - in January. Machiskinic's family believes the Regina woman's death is not being taken seriously.

9 months later, Nadine Machiskinic’s family says 29-year-old's death hasn't been taken seriously

Family believes justice system failed the aboriginal mother 2:52

Early in the new year, the Regina Police Service issued a brief news release indicating a 29-year-old woman had been found injured in a downtown hotel and died a couple of hours later. 

Nine months later, Regina police remain silent on the matter.

However, CBC's iTeam has learned her name was Nadine Machiskinic, a mother of four who worked in the sex trade and struggled with addictions. 

Regina resident Nadine Michiskinic, whose family says she fell 10 storeys down a hotel laundry chute to her death in January, leaves behind four children. Police are still investigating. (Delores Stevenson)
Her family says police told them privately the young woman died violently, plunging 10 storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel. She was fatally injured and died two hours later in hospital.

Last week, the iTeam asked police for an interview about the family's claims and the status of the investigation. 

They declined an interview, but in a statement said, "The investigation into the death of Nadine Machiskinic has revealed no indication of foul play."

The statement goes on to say "this is still an open investigation, so neither [Regina police nor the chief coroner] are prepared to speculate."

Machiskinic's family say her death isn't being taken seriously

Delores Stevenson, right, says niece Nadine Machiskinic was like a sister to her. (Delores Stevenson)
Machiskinic's aunt, Delores Stevenson, said that doesn't make sense. 

"A young aboriginal woman, who lived a high-risk lifestyle in the sex trade, ends up at the Delta Hotel at [4 a.m. CST], and falls down a laundry chute and it's not anything to be considered suspicious?" 

"It's just unbelievable. It's completely unbelievable," Stevenson told CBC's iTeam.

She said it's also unbelievable that nine months later, the chief coroner doesn't have a toxicology report, and the final autopsy report still isn't complete.

In an email, the provincial Ministry of Justice explained that ordinarily, coroner reports take four to six months. It says "the delay is unfortunate and an unusual occurrence." 

Stevenson said it seems the justice system has all but given up.

"I feel like they all just want it to go under the carpet, and nobody says anything about it and it will just go away," Stevenson said. 

"I am determined to find out what happened to Nadine. I'm not going to let this go."

Following the iTeam's report Monday, CBC Radio's As It Happens also asked Regina police to comment on Stevenson's suspicions that Machiskinic's death is not being treated with urgency because of her lifestyle.

In an email, police said, "We understand that the family of Nadine Machiskinic is anxious for more information and it is unfortunate that this investigation has encountered delays, but this is not an indication that the case has been forgotten or closed prematurely."

Aunt says police informed family privately

Nadine Machiskinic's family says two hours before she died, she was found injured at the bottom of a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel. (CBC)
Stevenson said police told them that early on the morning she died, Machiskinic was apparently intoxicated and making a lot of noise on the 10th floor of the Delta Hotel. 

"And the last witness that saw her said that she pulled the fire alarm and was screaming around 'There's a fire,'" relayed Stevenson.

Stevenson said police told her Machiskinic was found at the bottom of the laundry chute, having plunged down it from the 10th floor. 

"At this point, investigators can't give us a conclusion as to how she got [into] the laundry room," Stevenson said. "They don't know if anybody pushed her or if she got in there on her own."

She said police told her the cameras were "glitchy" that night and therefore didn't capture Machiskinic entering or moving around the hotel.

As for that witness who saw Machiskinic screaming on the 10th floor, Stevenson said "police informed us that that witness was a man who was registered in the hotel who is not from Canada."

She said police wouldn't say if the man and Machiskinic were at the hotel together. 

Machiskinic lived a 'high risk' lifestyle

Machiskinic's family says she worked in the sex trade, and her aunt believes that's why she was at the Delta Hotel the morning she died. (Submitted by Delores Stevenson)
Stevenson acknowledges her niece struggled with addictions and worked in the sex trade. 

"Nadine worked in the sex trade. That was the high-risk lifestyle she lived. And that would be the only reason that I assume that she was at the Delta Hotel that night," Stevenson said. 

Stevenson said she worries Machiskinic's death may be not be treated with urgency because she was an impaired aboriginal prostitute. 

"She didn't deserve to die in the manner she did and not have answers. And the stereotype that society has is awful and it could very well be because of that — that her case wasn't taken seriously," Stevenson said.

"Nadine was a human being. She was a person. She mattered," Stevenson said.

Aunt believes investigation may have been delayed

Delores Stevenson, Machiskinic's aunt, says her niece's death has not been taken seriously by the justice system. (CBC)
Stevenson says she's worried police may not have immediately begun their investigation the morning of Jan. 11 when Machiskinic fell and died. She says they aren't answering her questions. 

"They haven't given me a timeframe as to when they started the investigation from the time they found her or when she died," Stevenson said. "There's a big gap there that's unexplained."

The iTeam has identified one curious gap, through a review of Regina police news releases over the past five years. 

In 90 per cent of cases, police have issued a public news release about a death investigation within 24 hours of finding the body.

But in the case of Machiskinic, there was an almost 60-hour delay between the time of her death and when the public was notified. 

Police haven't offered any explanation, but say the investigation remains open. 

About the Author

Geoff Leo

Senior Investigative Journalist

Geoff Leo has been a reporter for CBC News in Saskatchewan since 2001. His work as an investigative journalist and documentary producer has earned numerous national and regional awards.

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