After three-days of evidence the jury at the coroner’s inquest have ruled Nadine Machiskinic’s death undetermined.
Ultimately that means no one really knows what happened to the 29-year-old when she fell 10-storeys down the laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in January 2015.
“This raises more questions about my niece and how she died”, said Delores Stevenson, moments after the ruling.
The jury learned it took 60 hours for police to begin an investigation into her death as the assumption was made that she was simply passed out from drug or alcohol abuse.
Some things were missed in the initial investigation that weren’t noticed until evidence was reviewed a year after her death.
Police were unable to identify two men who likely rode the elevator with Machiskinic that night.
There was a delay in sending toxicology away for analysis, with each investigator thinking the others had sent it.
The initial autopsy report concluded Machiskinic was unable to get into the chute by herself. But that report was later changed after more information came to light about her movement moments before the fall and the drugs in her system.
For Stevenson that highlights the problems in the investigation and how Machiskinic was “robbed of her dignity”.
“This just raises more questions into how her investigation was handled as an aboriginal woman,” Stevenson said.
“How the investigation was handled to the documentations that were handed back and forth to all the miscommunications.”
LOCK ALL LAUNDRY CHUTES
The six-person jury came back with just one recommendation, that all hotels ensure service chutes are locked and only accessible to service personnel.
Noah Evanchuk, the lawyer representing Stevenson, was hoping for more.
“I would like to see a system where, when a citizen of our country suffers a very traumatic and non-natural trauma, that police are called to the incident as soon as possible,” Evanchuk argued.
” I think we would have answers to this case if Miss Machiskinic had not been treated as a high-risk, poor and indigenous sex-trade worker but rather as a human being who suffered a very strange death.”
Considering the amendments made to Machiskinic’s autopsy report, Evanchuk had called for more transparency in the documents used to determine how people die.
“I don’t think we should have working documents that can be amended, you should be able to see where revisions are and are open and transparent and those revisions can be explained,” Evanchuk argued.
Ministry of Justice representatives followed the inquest and its outcome with the view to make improvements.
“I’m sure office of the coroner will begin the work to take a look at what came out from this inquest and putting those lessons to work,” said Drew Wilby with the ministry of justice.
“As for the ministry, we’ll go back, we’ll do some hard looking, and see what we can potentially pull out from this and hopefully, as we always commit to, to do better in the future.”
Inquest coroner Brent Gough thanked Stevenson and the rest of her family for pushing for the inquest in the hopes it found them some measure of closure.
“I don’t feel like I’m going to stop pressing for answers,” Stevenson said.
It appears for Stevenson, the search for the truth isn’t over.