Tyendinaga police ask Ontario Coroner to reopen case of Tyler Maracle

Community members join family in search of answers for boy’s death.

At the request of the family, the Tyendinaga police have sent a request to Ontario’s coroner to reopen the cases of Tyler Maracle, 21.

“My son went fishing with a friend five years ago, he never returned and there is a lot of unanswered questions that were never investigated,” says mother Tammy Maracle who is currently staging a sit in at the Tyendinaga police station demanding action.

The bodies of Tyler Maracle and his friend Matthew Fairman, 26, were found in Lake Ontario in 2015 two weeks after they went out on the Bay of Quinte to fish.

Tyler Maracle
A sign outside the Tyendinaga police station on the Mohawk Territory where the family is demanding a new investigation. Photo courtesy: Annette Francis.

The cause of death was listed as drowning.

But the family, members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory located 200 km east of Toronto, hired its own expert to review the case.

“I had his autopsy reviewed by a third party and noticed string in his stomach and I brought it back to Tyendinaga police and they never returned my call,” says Tammy. “They were supposed to check into it and then I’d call them and they said they got together with OPP and the investigation was done proper.”

The family doesn’t believe the investigation was done thoroughly.

Tyler Maracle
Tammy Maracle, left, is demanding that police allow a third party investigator to look into the death of her son. Photo courtesy: Annette Francis.

Tammy says there have been disputes on the Bay of Quinte between fishers in the past and believes foul play was involved.

The police say they’re waiting to hear from the coroner.

“I reached out (to the coroner), plus the other thing is they do want the Tyendinaga police involved in any investigation or follow up that may occur, so I reached out to our partners in the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) to do an investigation for them,” Police Chief Jason Brant told APTN News. “So that’s where it’s at right now.”

Ainsley Leween is a family friend who is pushing for more answers.

In a Facebook post, Lewween lists the concerns about what happened to the two men.

“When the boat was recovered it was found with cement blocks and numerous car batteries inside, items that would have never been inserted by either one of the occupants for obvious reasons,” Leween posted on Facebook.

At the site, Leween is adamant that another investigation must be launched.

“When a third party person pathologist looked at the autopsy and said the only reason there would be a string there is if he was gagged, because both boys were experienced, it’s just not something that, it was not believable that they drowned,” says Leween.

The family is currently staging a sit in at the Tyendinaga police station demanding the investigation be reopened by police as well.

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