Saskatchewan: Native teen escapes cop car, freezes to death

Beauval mayor criticizes RCMP handling of teen’s escape
Calls Mounties’ reaction ‘on the edge of incompetence’

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
CBC News [Saskatchewan]

The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] should have notified people sooner about the escape of teenager in custody who was later found frozen to death, the mayor of a northern Saskatchewan town says.

“I would call it on the edge of incompetence,” Beauval Mayor Alex Maurice said.

The 19-year-old from the Canoe Lake First Nation in the province’s northwest was arrested early Saturday morning after RCMP received a complaint of an intoxicated person.

According to police, the man was taken to the detachment in Beauval and when the arresting officer left the man alone for a minute in the back of the car, the man ran off.

Temperatures were well below freezing at the time.

The RCMP said they immediately searched for more than an hour. They then switched gears and started knocking on doors, but there was no sign of the man.

Members of the Canoe Lake First Nation formed a search party the next day and found the body of the man — an apparent victim of the cold — on a snowmobile trail seven kilometres from town.

The man’s name hasn’t been released.

An autopsy has been ordered. It’s not believed there was foul play, police said.

Maurice said RCMP should have notified locals sooner. The man’s family didn’t find out he had been missing for over 12 hours, he said.

If people had known, a search party could have been organized sooner, he said.

“I don’t think he was a dangerous offender or anything, and in the middle of winter, common sense should have prevailed on the part of the RCMP,” Maurice said.

Maurice accused the RCMP of ignoring local trackers who believed the man had walked out of town.

“Within an hour and a half, these Canoe Lake elders and the people who did the search party, within an hour and a half of starting the search party, they found him frozen to death,” he said.

An outside police force will be brought in to oversee the investigation.

Beauval is about 450 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

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One Response to “Saskatchewan: Native teen escapes cop car, freezes to death”

  1. Alanna Jacobs Says:

    I knew this boy or man if you want to call him that. He was a great guy and didn’t deserve to go this way. He was a great kid, didn’t always make the best of choices, but he was a good guy. When I met him we were both just kids and he was a little bit goofy. But there was no denying that he was one of the good guys. I really miss him and wish that the RCMP would have at least made the effort to letting people know sooner what had happened. If this was any of the RCMP officers children I have no doubt that everything necessary would have been done to find him or her before anything could happen to them. So why is it that HE never got the same treatment? He had a mother and father and brother and sisters and nieces and nephews… he had FAMILY waitting for him to come home. I dont see how his life was any less significant to anyone else’s? Because it wasn’t, he was a boy who was taken to soon. A Man who had everything in life to look forward too. It’s sadder now knowing that this had all the potential of being prevented.

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