Inquest called in death of Saskatchewan Indigenous woman found in B.C. park - InfoNews

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Inquest called in death of Saskatchewan Indigenous woman found in B.C. park

Deanna Desjarlais of Saskatoon is shown in an RCMP handout photo. Dejarlais was reported missing earlier this year after she travelled to B.C. Her body was found in a wooded area near Surrey. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
March 01, 2018 - 1:28 PM

VICTORIA - A public inquest will be held into the death of a Saskatchewan Indigenous woman whose body was found in a British Columbia park.

Deanna Renee Desjarlais, who was 27, was originally from Saskatoon and a member of the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Desjarlais, who was a sex-trade worker with addiction problems, went to B.C. in late 2015. She had numerous contacts with the health, justice and social services sectors in the months that followed.

She was last heard from in April 2016 and her family reported her missing a month later.

Desjarlais was found dead in Surrey's Hawthorne Park in May 2016, but she was not identified until that September.

The independent inquest into her death will be held on May 7 at the coroners' court in Burnaby, B.C. It will look into the circumstances surrounding her death and come up with recommendations that could prevent similar deaths.

It cannot find assign blame or legal responsibility.

After Desjarlais' body was found, a family friend questioned what police did before her remains were identified and why they never publicly released a missing person bulletin with a photo of Desjarlais.

Vancouver police said at the time that they seriously investigated Desjarlais as a missing person, even though they didn't issue a media release.

Police added that they get about 5,000 missing person reports every year, and putting out a dozen releases a day would become "white noise."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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