Amnesia may hinder torture investigation

Memory loss may be one reason why police have not made any arrests seven weeks after Dustin LaFortune was dumped at a Regina hospital severely underweight, burned and with parts of his tongue and lips cut off.

REGINA — Memory loss may be one reason why police have not made any arrests seven weeks after Dustin LaFortune was dumped at a Regina hospital severely underweight, burned and with parts of his tongue and lips cut off.

“He . . . has some difficulty recalling reliably a lot of detail, and that’s what’s required to be able to gather the evidence for this case,” police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said.

Popowich cited provincial privacy laws for not revealing details of LaFortune’s medical condition. But his family says the 26-year-old appears to be suffering from retrograde amnesia — a specific type of memory loss brought on by trauma and which wipes out recollections of the time leading up to the trauma. He also suffered brain damage.

“Dustin may never remember all the details, the sequence et cetera,” reads a posting on the family’s website. “Most of the severe deficits are in short-term memory. There may be some retrograde amnesia.”

While police have been quietly working the case — officers raided an apartment where LaFortune may have lived near the hospital —his family has gone public with plenty of information.

They say Dustin has told them he was assaulted by a former roommate whom he lived with in Calgary. They have named the individual, put his picture on the Internet and say he drugged and tortured LaFortune.

Police have not named any suspects or issued any arrest warrants. They are, however, continuing to investigate, Popowich said.

“I know it’s difficult to be patient. I know this case has stirred up a lot of emotion,” she said. “But we still have to follow the rules and follow the processes that, ultimately, we hope will hold someone accountable. And if we don’t do it right, then we may not get another opportunity.”

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