3 families question inaction of Vancouver police in suspicious deaths 

Families in B.C. say police aren’t doing enough about missing First Nations women.

Tatyanna Harrison was 20 years old when she stopped answering text messages from her mother and disappeared.

The Cree and Métis woman was last seen on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She was reported missing to Vancouver police on May 3, 2022.

Natasha Harrison says her daughter’s case ran into jurisdictional issues.

According to Harrison, police believed her daughter was saying outside its jurisdiction in Surrey – so that’s where the file was sent.

Eight days later, her body was found in Richmond, B.C., 35 km away from Surrey. Her remains weren’t identified until Aug. 5.

“No cameras were checked because of this jurisdiction issue,” she said. “Evidence was missed because of this jurisdiction issue.”

Noelle O’Soup, 13 and originally from Key First Nation in Saskatchewan, was reported missing after running away from a group home on May 12, 2021.

In February 2022, a man who lived with her in an apartment was found deceased. He was a known serial sex offender and was deemed a danger to the public.

Police cleared the scene.

But three months later, on May 1, 2022, the remains of O’Soup, and another woman were found in the same apartment by cleaning staff after police failed to find both of them.

O’Soup’s family said the coroner didn’t attend the scene after they were found.

There is currently an investigation into the first officer’s conduct who cleared the scene initially.

“I’m just going to blatant call it out [as] corruption,” said Cody Munch, O’Soup’s uncle. “A lot of this needs to change especially how you pick cops in Canada and to me, this is the worst place of all.”

Chelsea Poorman, 24, originally from Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, disappeared after a night on the town from the Granville strip in downtown Vancouver in September of 2020.

On April 22, 2020, 19 months later, her body was found outside of an abandoned mansion in one of Vancouver’s most affluent neighbourhoods. Police declared her death as not suspicious.

Like Tatyanna’s case, her mother said police didn’t access surveillance video from Granville St., or consider that Chelsea had a disability and couldn’t walk the distance to the house or scale the high gate to get onto the property by herself.

Her mother Sheila is convinced her daughter was taken there.

“They failed Chelsea, they failed Tatyanna and Noella,” she said. “But there are other families besides those ones that they failed and something has to change especially towards First Nations people.

No one from the Vancouver police attended a rally by the families on Feb. 27, nor did they make anyone available for an interview with APTN News. Instead, they issued a statement.

“ Our investigation into the disappearance and death of Chelsea Poorman remains open,” the police statement said. “We are committed to working with Chelsea’s family to find out more about how she traveled from the place she was last seen to the place where her remains were found. This is not a criminal investigation.”

In terms of the Harrison investigation, “We worked closely and collaboratively with Natasha Harrison after she reported Tatyanna missing. We also consulted Natasha prior to releasing the coroner’s preliminary findings regarding Tatyanna’s death.”

Police wouldn’t speak to the issue with the coroner’s office.

They said the “criminal investigation into the death of Noelle O’Soup is ongoing.”

But grieving mother Natasha Harrison she is not satisfied.

“Everything was just me and her and they mishandled my only child’s case with such disregard,” she said.

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