An Inuk elder says police did nothing to help her daughter’s call for help on the day she died in a murder-suicide 25 years ago.
On Labrador’s first day of hearings on the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry, Charlotte Wolfrey told the tragic story of her daughter, Deidre Marie Michelin.
Michelin, a 21-year-old mother of four, was killed by her partner in a murder-suicide in the remote community of Rigolet.
Wolfrey testified how her daughter was trying to leave a violent relationship. She had called the RCMP in Goose Bay that day for help, but was told there was nothing police could do unless her partner did something to her.
“She knew she was going to die and there was no protection services for her,” she said.
A long-time women’s rights advocate, Wolfrey said there needs to be more women’s shelters in northern communities and reforms to the criminal justice system.
During the final day of testimony on Thursday, Amena Evans Harlick said that she wants education reform, so young Canadians can learn more about Indigenous peoples, including missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The 21-year-old testified that her mother, Mary Evans Harlick, was killed in St. John’s when Amena was just six years old.
Mary was at a friend’s house and wanted to go home, her daughter testified.
“She threatened to call the police because this man wouldn’t let her leave,” she said. “He strangled her with her rawhide necklace and then put her in a sleeping bag and then put her underneath a crawl space underneath the stairs.”
In 2006, Scott Gauthier was convicted of second-degree murder, and is eligible for parole in 2023.
Harlick said she fears he might come after her too.
“I feel like I’m just going to be another statistic,” she said.
Evans Harlick is also calling for better services for families of victims.
Over two days of hearings in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, more than 25 families and survivors told the inquiry that they want to see more changes that will help keep their women and girls safe at home.