Thunder Bay

First Nations student deaths inquest looks at river-related deaths in Thunder Bay

The First Nations student deaths inquest turns its focus to the deaths of students whose bodies were found the Kaministiquia or McIntyre Rivers in Thunder Bay.

Testimony from mother of student delayed by fog in Thunder Bay, Toronto lawyers unable to fly in


The death of Jethro Anderson was expected to be the subject of evidence beginning Monday at the First Nations student deaths inquest in Thunder Bay, but the proceedings were delayed by weather.

The inquest is looking into the deaths of seven young people who died, between 2000 and 2011, after coming to the city for school, from remote First Nations communities.

Anderson, who was from Kasabonika Lake First Nation, died in 2000. He was 15 years old. His body, like that of four other students, was found in a river.

Each of the next five deaths to be examined by the inquest "are linked by the fact that they were all found in the water, so this is going to move the inquest into a different phase," said lawyer Jonathan Rudin, who represents several families of students who died.
Jethro Anderson of Kasabonika Lake First Nation died in 2000 while attending high school in Thunder Bay. He was 15. (CBC)

"Missing persons protocols, police investigation issues, those are going to come more to the fore now," Rudin said.

Anderson's mother, Stella Anderson, was scheduled to testify Monday afternoon, but Toronto-based lawyers from various parties with standing at the inquest were unable to fly into Thunder Bay because of fog. 

The inquest is now scheduled to resume, with Anderson's testimony, on Tuesday.

"I miss Jethro every day and the thought of learning more about his death is frightening and brings up old wounds that have been slowly healing," she said in an statement issued before the inquest began.

The inquest is expected to continue until March, 2016.