Death of Noelle O’Soup ‘a familiar tragedy’ and answers needed, say Indigenous leaders | Radio-Canada News

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Noelle “Elli” O’Soup, an Indigenous girl who went missing from her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, more than a year ago, died in early May in a Vancouver apartment, authorities say. She was 14 years old.

Noelle, a member of Key First Nation in Saskatchewan, was one of two people found dead in an apartment on the corner of Heatley Avenue and Hastings Street on May 1 in the city’s Strathcona neighborhood, the city said. Vancouver police in a statement. Police said the cause of their deaths is unknown.

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“It has become a familiar tragedy experienced by our families and our communities,” Coun said. Solomon Reece of Key First Nation in a written statement.

“We need action and systemic change from all levels of government to protect our children and protect vulnerable members of our community. His death affects us all.”

Police say the cause of death of 14-year-old Noelle O’Soup is unknown and their Major Crimes Section – which includes the Homicide, Robbery, Assault and Arson Unit and the People’s Unit missing – investigation. (RCMP)

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said Noelle’s long period of disappearance and the weeks-long delay between her death and notification of her family raise questions about the priority of his life. was.

“Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and two-spirits are still rejected, denied and delayed,” Wilson said. “And unfortunately, it’s another tragic ending to that.

“There are too many stats and too many instances, and it’s going on and it has to stop.”

Police describe search efforts

Coquitlam RCMP say Noelle initially left her home in Port Coquitlam, just east of Vancouver, on the evening of May 12, 2021 “without permission.”

The gendarmes said they had actively sought her out and had taken all the advice they had received. They are now assisting Vancouver Police and the Coroners Service as they investigate Noelle’s death.

Three deaths since February in a Strathcona apartment are being investigated by the coroners service. One of those who died was Noelle O’Soup. (Mike Zimmer/TUSEN)

“Coquitlam RCMP offer their deepest condolences to family and friends and thank the public and media for their assistance in the investigation,” an RCMP statement read.

The Vancouver Police Department said until earlier this week when the coroner identified the body, it was not known that Noelle was one of two people who died in early May. The family was notified on Wednesday after the identification.

‘Justice’

The coroner said a total of three deaths were being investigated at the building. In addition to the deaths in early May, a man in his early 40s died in the same apartment on February 23.

The Coroners Service would not provide further details on any of the deaths, citing ongoing inquests.

Vancouver police said their Major Crime Section – which includes the Homicide Unit, Robbery, Assault and Arson Unit and Missing Persons Unit – is investigating Noelle’s death.

“Noelle’s death will generate many questions in the community, and we are committed to finding answers,” a Vancouver police spokesperson wrote in an email.

“If during this investigation we determine that there is a risk to public safety, we will notify the public immediately.”

Wilson says she hopes the investigations will lead to answers for Noelle’s family, but also says there needs to be a reform of Canada’s colonial systems so Indigenous children like Noelle don’t fall through the cracks .

“We really have to deal with all these different…policies of the Doctrine of Discovery and also the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to get justice,” Wilson said.

“That’s what our people are looking for: justice.”

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