Regina’s police chief says an RCMP review into how his officers investigated the death of a woman who plunged 10 storeys down a hotel laundry chute won’t be released, a decision that upsets the victim’s family.
Nadine Machiskinic was found at the bottom of the chute in Regina’s Delta Hotel in January 2015.
“There was nothing in the review that wasn’t already discussed in the coroner’s inquest,” Chief Evan Bray said Monday. ”In fact, I would say that was a much more robust, in-depth dive into not just the investigation but the entire incident.”
The inquest heard it took police 60 hours to open an investigation and more than a year before they began looking for two men shown on surveillance video with someone who appeared to be Machiskinic.
Officers also took four months to send for a toxicology report, Bray said.
Machiskinic’s aunt, Delores Stevenson, said the family should at least be able to see the review.
“I don’t feel any comfort at all knowing that this report and the recommendations, I feel, are being kept secret and not being at all revealed to myself and the family or the public,” she said.
The coroner initially ruled the cause of Machiskinic’s death could not be determined, but later changed it to accidental.
A jury at a coroner’s inquest last year changed the ruling back to undetermined, so Regina police asked the RCMP to look into the death.
Bray said the review includes major case management techniques which are sensitive and releasing the information could jeopardize future investigations.
“I feel like the information contained in the report is really something that benefits the Regina Police Service and is of little benefit to the general public reading it,” Bray said.
Bray met with Machiskinic’s family earlier this month to discuss the review and said the case is closed pending new evidence.
Stevenson said the police’s stance doesn’t address issues of accountability within the force, or underlying issues with the case such as stereotypes and discrimination.
“That doesn’t give me any satisfaction in the justice system and how it operates,” she said.
“Especially with Nadine’s case, I have no confidence if at the end of the day, they’re still withholding information. I just can’t wrap my head around it.”
An autopsy report said Machiskinic, a mother of four, died of blunt force trauma to the head, neck and trunk consistent with a fall.
Blood tests showed she had alcohol and a mix of methadone and three other drugs in her system, as well as high levels of sleeping medication.
Although Bray said getting to the case late presented a challenge, he said he doesn’t believe the delay affected the outcome of the investigation.
Bray said police are still missing information from the night Machiskinic died despite a long investigation.
“That’s what leaves us with a challenge, and I think leaves the family with still some inability for closure on this case.”
Changes to Regina police operations have either already been made or are coming early next year, Bray said.
Two police officers will join the force’s major case management section to minimize delays and gaps in an investigation, he said.
The Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism said they stand by the Machiskinic family.
“This is just another example that we need civilian oversight and police accountability,” spokesman Chris Kortright said.
— Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter
Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press