Police chief's comments on Nadine Machiskinic's death adds to family's frustration

Chief Evan Bray says the investigation wasn’t influenced by who Nadine Machiskinic was.

Evan Bray admits mistakes made, but says Indigenous woman's background did not bias investigation

Regina's police chief said the police service is still open to new evidence in Nadine Machiskinic's death. (Submitted to CBC)

Regina's police chief admits there were mistakes in the investigation into the death of a 29-year-old mother who fell down a hotel laundry chute.

But Evan Bray says the investigation wasn't influenced by who Nadine Machiskinic was.

"The Regina Police Service will not ever conduct an investigation based on interpretation of a person's lifestyle, race, gender — bias like that won't find itself into an investigation."

An inquest into Machiskinic's January 2015 death concluded Thursday. The jury found the manner of Machiskinic's death is "undetermined," contrary to the finding of the chief coroner, who had ruled it an accident.

Sometimes investigations give way to more questions.- Regina police Chief Evan Bray

The inquest highlighted a number of delays and errors in the police investigation into Machiskinic's death. It took 60 hours before police were notified of her death, and by the time officers arrived, the area where Machiskinic had been found had been cleaned by hotel staff.

Regina police Chief Evan Bray admits there were mistakes made in the investigation into Nadine Machiskinic's death. (CBC)

There was a communication error between officers, leaving samples meant for testing in storage for months.

Two men seen on surveillance footage at the front desk of the hotel the morning of Machiskinic's death have not been spoken to or found. It took police an entire year to start looking for the pair.

Bray said despite the errors and challenges in the case, he and his officers believe that their investigation would have still reached the same conclusion — that no one else was involved in Machiskinic's death.

"Sometimes investigations give way to more questions," Bray said.

The police chief said it's important to him that people feel they can trust the police service and its investigations. He said he is confident in his officers and their ability to investigate files.

'I just don't know what to make of it'

Machiskinic's aunt watched a video of what the police chief had to say, telling CBC News she wished Bray had met with the family before speaking to the media.

"I just don't know what to make of it," said Delores Stevenson

Nadine Machiskinic's aunt, Delores Stevenson, told CBC News that she wished Regina Police Chief Evan Bray had met with the family before speaking to the media. (CBC)

Stevenson said Bray's comments added to her frustration with the police service. Specifically, Stevenson took issue with Bray defending the investigation's ruling of Machiskinic's death as "accidental."

"From someone who says that they don't have intimate details about the investigation, I don't think that's a fair judgement to make," she said, referring to comments Bray made.

Stevenson said she felt this is the latest example of miscommunication in her niece's case.

Speaking to reporters following the inquest, Stevenson said she hoped the case will be reopened.

Bray said Machiskinic's case is still open to new evidence. The next step, he said, will be to reach out to the woman's family to speak to them about their concerns in the case. 

With files from Geoff Leo and Jill Morgan