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Nov 02, 2023
‘The pain is indeed raw and the emotions are far-reaching and challenging,’ says coroner Heather Jones
Yukon’s chief coroner is calling for compassion and understanding in advance of a public inquest next year that will look into the deaths of four people who died while accessing services at Whitehorse’s emergency shelter.
“The pain is indeed raw and the emotions are far-reaching and challenging,” said coroner Heather Jones. She noted she’s been in contact with the families of all those who have died in association with the shelter, as well as community leaders.
“As I have said to all involved, I sincerely hope that the decision to call this inquest will, with its findings and recommendations, somehow bring some comfort and perhaps changes that will save lives,” Jones wrote in an email to CBC News.
Set for the spring, the inquest will examine the facts and circumstances surrounding four deaths at the shelter in the last two years, but the jury will not make any finding of legal responsibility.
In January 2022, Cassandra Warville, 35, and Myranda Tizya-Charlie, 34, died of what the coroner found to be the result of toxic illicit drugs. This year, the death of Josephine Elizabeth Hager, 38, was reported on Feb. 1, and the death of Darla Skookum, 52, was reported on April 16.