Vancouver police under scrutiny after deaths of multiple young Indigenous women, girls

A series of recent deaths and disappearances of young Indigenous women in Vancouver has advocates and families questioning whether police learned many of the lessons — or applied recommendations of numerous reports — from previous tragedies.

The Assembly of First Nations, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and now the former head of the province’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry have spoken out urging reforms to how police handle missing persons cases.

The latest tragedies include the deaths of 14-year-old Noelle O’Soup, and Kwemcxenalqs (Kwem) Manuel-Gottfriedson, 24.

O’Soup was found dead in an apartment at the corner of Heatley Avenue and Hastings Street on May 1, but is believed to have died some time before — sparking a police code of conduct investigation into one officer who allegedly failed to see her while searching the apartment.

Manuel-Gottfriedson, meanwhile, was found in a building near East Hastings Street and Hawks Avenue last Saturday; her death is subject to a major crimes squad investigation.

Community anger at police erupted earlier this year when the body of Chelsea Poorman was found on the grounds of a Vancouver mansion.

Another Indigenous woman, 20-year-old Tatyanna Harrison, is among those still missing. She was last seen in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on April 22.


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