Canada

‘Everything’s on the table’: Vancouver police tight-lipped as they investigate Indigenous teen’s death


Vancouver police insist there’s not much they can say publicly about their investigation into the death of missing Indigenous teen Noelle “Ellie” O’Soup, but “everything’s on the table” as they work to determine how and why she died.


The 14-year-old’s body was found on May 1 inside an apartment at 405 Heatley St. in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood.


The Port Coquitlam resident had been missing for nearly a year at that point, and her body was found alongside the body of another individual.


At a news conference Friday, Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin told reporters the second person found May 1 has not yet been identified.


“The (causes) of both these people’s deaths – Noelle and the other person – right now, are unknown,” Visintin said.


A third person – a man in his 40s – was found dead in the same apartment on Feb. 23, Visintin confirmed.


“This is very concerning,” she said, when asked about the VPD’s reaction to the discovery of three bodies in the same apartment in a span of just a few months.


“(It’s) quite unusual as well, I’ll add,” Visintin continued. “So, that’s why we have our Major Crime Section on this. And we’re working to determine what happened here.”


Asked whether police believe the deaths of O’Soup and the other individual found on May 1 are suspicious, Visintin sought clarification.


“What do you mean by suspicious?” She asked.


When the reporter clarified that he wanted to know whether police are conducting a homicide investigation, Visintin said police “haven’t ruled out anything.”


“Everything’s on the table at this point,” she said. “So, yeah, we’re looking into all avenues on what caused this death – or deaths, I should say.”


Noelle O’Soup was reported missing after leaving her home in Port Coquitlam on the evening of May 12, 2021.


She originally hailed from the 1,500-member Key First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, and one of the nation’s band councillors told CTV News on Thursday that O’Soup was in the care of B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development. 


Coquitlam RCMP did not elaborate on the teen’s living situation in any of their appeals for information on her whereabouts, saying only that “did not have permission to leave.”


After the identification of her remains this week, Vancouver police took over the investigation.


“Noelle’s death will generate many questions in the community, and we are committed to finding answers,” the VPD said in a statement issued Wednesday.


“If, during the course of this investigation, we determine there is a risk to public safety, we will immediately notify the public.” 


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