Mother sues Kelowna RCMP seeking investigation into her sons' deaths - InfoNews

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Mother sues Kelowna RCMP seeking investigation into her sons' deaths

Kelowna RCMP are the focus of a civil lawsuit from the mother of two teens who died by suicide.
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July 12, 2019 - 1:15 PM

KELOWNA - The mother of two teens who died by suicide is taking the Kelowna RCMP to court to answer lingering questions.

Annette Toro is petitioning the courts to order the RCMP, as well as the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to provide her with the full and complete investigation file into the deaths of her sons, Dillon and Payton Budd.

The document says that in December 2014 Dillon moved in with his father in Kelowna.

On April 10, 2015, Dillon, then 13 years old, was found in his bedroom with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. The weapon belonged to his father and was a restricted firearm.

The RCMP attended the scene and classified the death a suicide. The file has since been closed.

On April 20, 2017 while visiting his father’s residence in Kelowna, Payton, then 17 years old, was found dead just outside his father's residence. He was found with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. The weapon belonged to his father and was a restricted firearm.

The RCMP attended the scene and his death was classified as a suicide. The RCMP investigation file has been closed.

In the months that followed, Toro repeatedly made efforts through her lawyer to get information from the RCMP.

“We assume, of course, that this being an unnatural death that it was investigated by both the RCMP and the Coroner’s Office. Accordingly, if you could supply me with all the details of the investigation carried out by the RCMP in relation to Dillon’s death then I can pass that information onto his mother,”  Toro's lawyer Glen Orris wrote in a letter to RCMP dated July 31, 2017.

“Since Payton’s death also appears to be suicide and appears to be as a result of Payton obtaining access to his father’s guns at his father’s house, we assume the RCMP investigated as to how that occurred. Two deaths of young men, occurring at the same place and happening in the same way, I am sure the police investigated as to why and how this could have occurred.”

In October, a “brief synopsis” of the investigation was offered to Toro, via Orris.

Orris responded to that with a letter back to RCMP in December, saying the synopsis gave way to more questions than answers.

Among other things, the report said there was an empty shell casing in front of Dillon’s body, which Orris said was contrary to what he understood about shotguns and suicide.

“My experience with shotguns is that a pump action shotgun requires a pump action to release the empty shell casing after the gun is fired. That is inconsistent with suicide. Alternatively, if the shotgun is a double or single barrel, it does not eject the empty shell casing. Such guns require manual breaking of the gun to remove the shell casing. Both these points are inconsistent with suicide,” he wrote.

He also asked why a second rifle was found in the bedroom and two more were found in an adjacent bedroom.

“This leads to the question of, Whose rifles were these? And why were they not properly stored or safed,” he wrote.

“As you can see from the questions above, the synopsis, does not really assist,” Orris wrote. “I assume that all these points were investigated and resolved by the investigators but were omitted in your ‘synopsis.’”

In another letter, he said the delay in getting information to Toro was unacceptable and fiercely prejudicial.

Dillon and Payton are the focus of a mental health campaign in Kelowna, organized by their dad Thomas Budd.

Their CMHA Memorial Ride is considered a rallying point for anyone living with mental illness, but also for those who know someone who struggled with their mental health.

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