BC’s Independent Investigations Office probing woman’s death as family demands answers.
Family and friends of a deceased 18 year old woman gathered at a Port Alberni funeral home Wednesday to say goodbye to the young mother of two who died while in police custody.
“She’s very outgoing, loving, caring. She’s like one of the best friends I ever had” Micaela Dick told CHEK News
The BC Coroner’s service says Jocelyn Marsha George was taken into custody by the Port Alberni RCMP and lodged in their cells last Thursday June 23.
She was then found the next morning in need of medical attention and taken to a local hospital where she was then transferred by air ambulance to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, where she died that evening.
“So our main concern right now is to find out what happened in that time from when she was arrested to that time the ambulance picked her up at the police station” said George’s cousin Lee Lucas.
Lucas says the police had picked up his cousin earlier on Thursday, released her, then picked her up again about an hour later when someone reported a disturbance not far from the police station.
Family members say she struggled recently with alcohol and drugs and believe that is why she was taken to RCMP cells but wonder why she was not watched more closely there.
“That is the family’s main concern is why was she placed in cells? Was there a better place for her?” added Lucas.
George was the daughter of Ryan George who was convicted of beating his niece Sherry Charlie to death in 2002 in a case that received national attention.
Jocelyn George had two young children and was remembered for her kind soul.
“She was a very happy go lucky person. She had a lot of energy. She loved her children” Corrine Charleson told CHEK News.
George’s cause of death has not been released but the Independent Investigations Office has now taken over the probe of what it is calling an in-custody death.
“To determine if there’s any connection between the female’s death and the actions or inactions of police” said Marten Youssef of the IIO.
It could take anywhere from weeks to a full year for the IIO to complete its investigation.