A grieving mother is crediting outcry over her 15-year-old daughter’s mysterious death in Duncan as the reason that RCMP are now re-opening her case.
“All the voices that shouted up to them, [so] that they changed their mind. Because it is suspicious,” said Marie Edna Thursday, the mother of Carson Mackenzie Seaweed.
Seaweed was found in the 5300-block of the Trans-Canada Highway on May 15, in a semi-conscious state, and then later died, according to police.
Police say she was found under suspicious circumstances.
“The safety and wellbeing of Quw’utsun Mustimuhw (Cowichan people) and vulnerable populations in our region is a top priority for me and our entire Council,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief Lydia Hwitsum.
“Too many of our community members have experienced the unspeakable loss of a family member at a young age. We need to work together community-wide to combat crime and demand safety by reporting any and all suspicious activities to the RCMP.”
Police say they conducted an investigation to determine the circumstances that led to Carsyn’s death, including a scene assessment, toxicology analysis and other medical examinations.
Since she is underage, police say the details of her medical profile cannot be released due to the Privacy Act.
In the release on May 25, police say a criminal investigation is underway, however, this is a change from the day before when police sent a statement to CHEK News saying investigators believe there is no criminality believed in her death.
When asked to clarify, Cpl. Alex Bérubé tells CHEK News investigators do not believe her death is a homicide.
“Investigators are satisfied that the death itself is not a homicide,” Bérubé said in an email. “However, the events prior to her death are treated suspicious at this time – which is why it is actively being investigated.”
In a Facebook post, Carsyn’s mom aired her frustrations at the police initially saying her death is not suspicious.
“My daughter was left for dead, someone covered her in cardboard, leaves twigs [sic] to hide her!! Is that not suspicious?!” Marie Edna said on Facebook. “I will not allow her to story to be swept under the rug.”
Adrian Sylvester of Sasquatch Clan Patrol, a volunteer run patrol on Cowichan Tribes, says he is frustrated with how the RCMP are handling this investigation with police first saying there is no criminality suspected to now having a criminal investigation.
“I’m pissed off. I’m mad, and I feel like if any other thing happens to Indigenous women here in town they’re not going to do squat,” Sylvester said. “Why now all of a sudden when they could have kept going, right from the beginning. Now they’re losing time…The RCMP have to be more serious about this stuff, because we have children in this area, all over the place that play outside.”
Sylvester is organizing a rally outside the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment on Friday, May 26 at 10 a.m.
Additionally, police say there are rumours circulating online about the death and ask the public to “be prudent to appropriately source their information.”
“We are grateful to those who have come forward to provide information to advance this investigation thus far,” says Inspector Chris Bear, Officer in Charge of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP in a news release. “We also understand that this is a very emotional and difficult time for those affected by this tragedy.”
Joe Thorne, whose daughter was close friends with Carsyn, says the community needs to do more to protect Indigenous youth.
“I think to myself, it could have been my child,” Thorne told CHEK News. “Anything can happen to anyone in these areas, and that’s one of my big pushes. We need to start taking our rights back. This whole community has got to get together and say it’s time we started thinking about our children.”
Hwitsum says anyone with information about the death should contact RCMP.
“We are asking our entire community to come together to support justice for this family,” said Hwitsum. “Active reporting is an important way our citizens can help law enforcement in the work they are doing.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.
In addition, Cowichan Tribes and the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP will be holding a town hall meeting about community safety on June 29 for the second time this year.
The town hall meeting will be at the Si’em Lelum Dining Hall at 6 p.m.