After mother’s plea, BC Coroners reopen investigation into Victoria teen’s death


The BC Coroners Service is reopening an investigation into the 2021 death of a Victoria teen who died from a toxic combination of alcohol and a date-rape drug.

Eighteen-year-old Samantha Sims-Somerville and a friend were rushed to hospital from the same party and put on life support, with the date-rape drug GHB and Rohypnol coursing through their veins. For Samantha, the mix was fatal.

“She was too good for this world,” Samantha’s mom, Tracy Sims, told CHEK News through tears on Friday.

For years, Sims has fought to have Samantha’s case reopened. She maintains her daughter was murdered.

“My daughter did not do this willingly, she was 100 per cent drugged,” said Sims.

Sims believes her daughter and friend were deliberately recruited by a mutual friend, invited to a party on Yates Street with older men they didn’t know, and lethally drugged. Several of the men who were there that night are known to police.

In September 2022, Victoria Police closed their investigation without recommending charges. The BC Coroners Service concluded her death was accidental, basing their results on the police investigation.

“The police investigation? There was no investigation…I think it’s a mix between negligence and ignorance,” said Sims.

“They did nothing on Sam’s case. It was an opportunity for them. It was an opportunity for them to further other investigations,” she said. “They thought this was just another teenager overdose and they picked the wrong mother.”

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Photos of Samantha Sims-Somerville are shown in her mother’s home. (CHEK News)

Sims is accusing Victoria Police of being too slow to order a rape kit for her daughter, ignoring evidence like messages from the friend that brought them to the party that say the girls were drugged and names the man who may have drugged them, and not submitting their collective evidence to Crown.

“They told me they’d gone to Crown, we found they hadn’t even submitted a formal file closure to the Crown,” said Sims.

The province’s police watchdog, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC), is now investigating.

“This is an active OPCC investigation and therefore we cannot provide further comment or details at this time,” Cst. Teri Healy with Victoria Police.

The fact that the OPCC is investigating is cold comfort for Sims because a Victoria Police officer has been assigned to investigate their own.

“It’s going to be completely, in my opinion, a biased investigation,” she said. “It’s a complete conflict of interest!”

This week, the Coroners Service told Sims they’d be reopening their investigation which found Samantha’s death accidental, in light of “new evidence.” For Sims, the update is bittersweet.

“It’s just been so much. I’ve had to challenge and question and appeal each part of this justice system,” she said. “It’s affected everything. It’s not just taken my daughter’s life, it’s taken my life.”

She now waits for the results of the new coroners’ investigation and the ongoing Victoria Police complaint.

“They’ve put me through hell,” said Sims. “I’ve not been able to grieve my own daughter because I’ve had to do all this.”

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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