Ontario student Manpreet Kanhaiya's death in Poland a mystery

More than a month after Manpreet Kanhaiya died after falling from his fourth-floor apartment in Poland, his family in Brampton, Ont. is still trying to figure out what happened.

Police investigating after 22-year-old medical student falls from fourth-floor apartment

Manpreet Kanhaiya, a 22-year-old who was set to begin medical school at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, died shortly after arriving in the country. (Kanhaiya family)

More than a month after Manpreet Kanhaiya died after falling from his fourth-floor apartment in Poland, his family in Brampton, Ont. is still trying to figure out what happened.

Kanhaiya, 22, had just moved to central Poland to study at the Medical University of Lodz at the end of September.

There are millions of unanswered questions.- Jaswinder Kanhaiya, Manpreet's father

Police are investigating, but Kanhaiya's family said they've been told it could take between three months and a year before authorities know what happened. Jaswinder Kanhaiya, Manpreet's father, said he wants to rule out the possibility of foul play.

"These things will come only into light when there's an investigation," he told CBC News.

"There are millions of unanswered questions."

Jaswinder Kanhaiya dismissed the idea that his son's death could have been a suicide, saying Manpreet was in good spirits and eager to begin his studies when he last saw him.

"He was a perfect student, he was a perfect son and a perfect brother."

Kanhaiya's parents travelled with him to help him get settled on Sept. 28 before heading back to Toronto via London. After they didn't hear from Manpreet for two days they contacted the landlord at the off-campus private dorm where he was staying, who told them he had accidentally fallen from his fourth-floor window in the early morning hours of Sept. 29.

Kanhaiya was hospitalized but died of his injuries on Sept. 30.

University hasn't contacted family, father says

Jaswinder Kanhaiya, Manpreet's father, helped his son get set up at his apartment in Lodz, Poland. He later learned his son died after falling from the window. (Kanhaiya family)
Jaswinder Kanhaiya said a death certificate listed the cause of death as traumatic shock. According to the landlord, the Kanhaiyas said, there were no signs of blood or injury on Manpreet's body after his fall.

A more detailed autopsy is expected to be sent to the family later this week.

Jaswinder Kanhaiya said he's shocked Polish authorities and the university didn't contact him immediately after the fall.

He's also angry that the Medical University of Lodz still hasn't contacted the family directly to share condolences.

"They're heartless people," Jaswinder Kanhaiya said.

The university said in a statement to CBC News that it's "extremely saddened" by the death.

Friends call death 'unbelievable'

Kanhaiya — or Manny, as he was known to friends and family — graduated from the University of Waterloo and Notre Dame Catholic School in Brampton before that.

Jaswinder Kanhaiya said many of Manpreet's high school friends have contacted him to say they're shocked by the news of his son's death and feel the story is "unbelievable."

Manpreet's father is also unnerved by a series of odd text messages he received from his son on the evening of the fall, including some where it seemed he may have feared for his safety.

One message said: "These people are talking to me, I'm not talking to them."

Manpreet also sent messages to his brother, asking him to screen shot certain names.

"Don't ask don't tell … just screen shot," the message said.

Hoping for clues

Jaswinder Kanhaiya said he's hoping security camera footage from the building where his son died will provide a clue. He's also begging anyone with information to contact his family.

"Come forward, help our family and we get to know the true facts what happened to our son," he said.

Meanwhile, the family has set up an online fundraiser with the hopes of raising $300,000 to hire an English-speaking lawyer in Poland as well as an investigator. So far, they've raised more than $15,000 in two weeks.

Kanhaiya's body has already been returned to Canada.


  • An earlier version of this story stated Manpreet Kanhaiya was enrolled at the University of Lodz. In fact, he attended the Medical University of Lodz.
    Nov 05, 2015 9:35 AM ET

With files from Trevor Dunn