N.B. RCMP misidentify body, loved ones alert coroner before cremation
A Moncton family is breathing a sigh of relief after police misidentified a body found, but questions remain about how law enforcement made the serious mix-up.
The nightmare began early Tuesday morning when Dieppe, N.B., resident Donna Price was awakened by a knock at the door. Police officers from the Codiac Regional RCMP informed her investigators discovered a body that evening who was identified as her son. The officers characterized the death as a possible overdose.
The body of the man, who had no fixed address, was found inside a public washroom steps from Moncton City Hall just after midnight Tuesday.
“In that moment, my life was just -- it’s the worst news a parent can hear,” Price told CTV News. “It was just a blur after that.”
Shocked and devastated, the Price and her family began the daunting task of making funeral arrangements for her son and notified her child’s grandparents of the tragic discovery.
Later that morning, the coroner called asking whether they’d like him to be buried or cremated.
But a lawyer retained by the family says when a third party was sent to the son’s home to collect belongings and paperwork required by the coroner’s office, the individual was shocked to see the “deceased” son answer the door.
“I asked probably ten times, and they said, “Donna, he’s alive and well. I don’t know what to tell you,’” she said.
Price says the next few moments were a blur, but she remembers screaming and jumping.
“It felt like I was in a movie, or a bad joke,” she said.
According to the family’s lawyer, Brian Murphy, they immediately contacted the RCMP, who he says “responded by unapologetically challenging the news that their son was, in fact, alive.”
Rather than believing the parents about the mix-up, Murphy said the RCMP put the onus on the supposed victim’s family to let the coroner’s office know before the misidentified human remains were cremated.
“It was almost like we had to prove to [RCMP] that he was still alive,” she said.
“The RCMP instructed the Prices to contact the coroner’s office as it was no longer the RCMP’s problem,” Murphy said in a news release Friday.
Murphy noted the official at the coroner’s office was “very apologetic and helpful” but indicated to the family they could only rely on information received from law enforcement.
Shortly after the coroner’s office was notified of the mix-up, two RCMP officers visited the family at their home to explain what happened.
According to Murphy, investigators explained that a photo of the deceased was broadcast to all active RCMP members. A member responded to identify the victim, who was known to police.
Murphy said his clients have been traumatized by the misidentification, with some of the family seeking counselling and medical advice.
“The whole experience was traumatic,” Price said. “The grief and shock, having to tell loved ones of the loss… and to combine it with the arrogance and lack of empathy from the RCMP, it was just too much.”
The family has a background in corrections and law enforcement, and said compassion is key.
“We feel sorry for that person’s loved ones,” Price added. “The time wasted on identifying our son as the deceased should have been concentrated on identifying the actual deceased.”
“This is an egregious case of police negligence causing mental anguish, but worse a case of indifference to those of a lower economic earnings bracket,” Murphy said in the release. “If this had been a prominent, well-dressed individual in the same spot, we all know there would have been more scrutiny.”
Murphy says the family, who has chosen not to release their son’s name to the public, is set to pursue legal action.
“The total lack of remorse or an apology and the high-handed arrogant assumptions made about our son and the actual deceased person are so offensive,” said stepfather David Price.
New Brunswick RCMP Cpl. Hans Ouellette confirmed in an email to CTV News that investigators are in communication with family members about the situation.
“This is not a criminal matter, but may soon be part of a legal process,” Ouellette said. “Any evidence pertinent to this matter could be presented as part of a judicial or internal process.”
“The RCMP respects fair and impartial proceedings as part of the legal system. As such, it would be inappropriate to comment on evidence or other aspects that may be part of judicial or internal proceedings.”
In the meantime, Price is relieved her son is safe and sound, but she still finds herself grieving for the true victim.
“I feel extremely saddened by the person who has deceased and their family. They were robbed of 13 hours -- that was their time, not my family’s time to grieve.”
Price’s message for the RCMP is simple: “There are protocols in place. Please follow them.”
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was found floating over sensitive military sites in the western United States had been tracked by Canada's government since last weekend as it passed through Canadian airspace, sources tell CTV News.
The oldest preserved vertebrate brain has been found in a 319-million-year-old fossilized fish skull that was removed from an English coal mine over a century ago.
It took 40 years, but former NHL player and coach Ted Nolan is now one of eight Indigenous ex-NHL-ers being honoured hockey trading cards as a part of Upper Deck's First Peoples Rookie Card series.
A B.C. man who was mistaken for the target in a police takedown and shot by an officer in 2013 has had his lawsuit alleging negligence dismissed.
Three bodies found in a vacant Detroit-area apartment building have been identified as those of three aspiring rappers who went missing nearly two weeks ago, police said Friday.
For much of disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial, witnesses have talked about a generous and loving man -- but prosecutors want jurors to know that same man stole over US$4 million from his housekeeper's relatives after she died at work, and killed his wife and son to cover up his crimes.
A senior aide to Japan's prime minister is being dismissed after making discriminatory remarks about LGBTQ2S+ people.
A jury on Friday decided Elon Musk didn't deceive investors with his 2018 tweets about electric automaker Tesla.
A new research from a citizen science program suggests that stars are disappearing before our eyes at an 'astonishing rate.'
Speed cameras clocked a car driving 70 km/h over the limit. Here's how the owner fought the ticket and won
After being charged with speeding by a city-operated photo radar device, a Toronto family was able to successfully fight the charge in court largely due to one small detail.
The death of a longtime CBC journalist who was shoved to the ground in Toronto has now been classified as a homicide and police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the case.
Police are investigating a stabbing in downtown Toronto Friday night.
Alberta's high court is being asked to overturn a review board decision relating to the stabbing deaths of five young people at a Calgary house party on the grounds the former provincial justice minister interfered.
Police are investigating a series of tire slashing incidents in northeast Calgary.
Thousands of Alberta lawyers are expected to take part in an online debate Monday morning over the issue of mandatory Indigenous history training.
The ongoing cold snap has Quebecers cranking up the heat in their homes, which Hydro-Quebe says has caused a record peak in electricity demand. In a Tweet Friday, the hydroelectricity supplier said that around 5:30 p.m., demand across the province reached 42,700 megawatts.
A reclusive billionaire who headed a Montreal tech company is stepping down one day after Radio-Canada/CBC published a report that alleged he paid teenage girls for sex for more than a decade.
The Montreal fire department is advising people to avoid Sherbrooke Street East at Carignan Avenue in the Longue Pointe neighbourhood as a five-alarm fire is burning.
An Edmonton man who received a ticket from the city under the phase 2 residential parking ban earlier this week says his street has finally been plowed — five days after his vehicle was ticketed.
Marc, Seth and Zacary James are the Melisizwe Brothers, and they performed at Jasper Place High School on Friday as part of Edmonton Public School Black History Month celebrations.
New MRI-radiation hybrid machine in Alberta expected to improve cancer treatment by at least 20 per cent
Technology in Alberta that is expected to allow doctors to more accurately and effectively treat cancerous tumours with radiation enters clinical trials next week.
Canada's newest millionaire, an 18-year-old university freshman from northern Ontario, has achieved a lot of firsts with a recent lottery win. Here is her story.
Ontario Provincial Police have closed a portion of Highway 400 north of Toronto following multiple collisions due to whiteout conditions.
An investigation that lasted almost two years has resulted in moose hunting violation convictions for six people and a lodge in Red Lake in northwestern Ontario.
The public is being asked to avoid the area of Sixth Avenue in Woodstock, Ont. on Friday afternoon due to an “active police investigation” following a grim discovery made by police.
Extreme cold and snow squall warnings are impacting roads and school bus operations in the region, and multiple area roads and highways have been closed by OPP due to hazardous driving conditions.
Mounting resistance to infill development in neighbourhoods is testing city council’s commitment to The London Plan’s intensification targets. However, one prominent project is bucking the trend.
Winnipeg police released a new image of a 31-year-old woman who has been missing since early last year on Friday in the hope it may generate new information on her whereabouts.
A fire destroyed a popular paint and hobby shop in Winkler Thursday afternoon with black smoke prompting Winkler police to close off a stretch of Highway 32 for more than an hour.
Manitoba has expanded the types of identification acceptable for use to purchase liquor, cannabis and lottery tickets in the province.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | This was Ottawa's busiest photo radar camera in 2022
The 17 automated speed enforcement cameras set up in school zones across the city of Ottawa issued a total of 127,939 speeding tickets in 2022.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Winterlude's outdoor activities resume today after an extremely cold start to the festival
Canadian Heritage says Winterlude's outdoor activities will resume in Ottawa and Gatineau on Saturday, one day after the extreme cold weather cancelled all outdoor events.
A federal government department has fired 49 employees who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit while they were employed.
BHP is moving forward with its plans to build the world's largest potash mine.
After months of driving around the city with an advertisement for a kidney donor on her bright red car, Debbie Onishenko will soon be able to rip off the decals as her search has ended.
The community of Dundurn is rallying behind a firefighter who lost her home in a fire.
The mayors of Port Coquitlam and Port Moody want Nav Canada — the organization that creates flight paths for airports across the country — to pause its plans for a new YVR arrivals route that will direct many large airplanes over their communities.
'Just absolute scum of the earth': Family upset after senior with dementia defrauded by someone posing as care worker
Seventy-nine-year-old William Herbert thought the woman coming to see him was a nurse who needed to do bloodwork. But instead of helping him, it’s alleged she stole from him.
Homicide investigators are looking into whether a vehicle fire in Surrey on Thursday morning is connected to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Burnaby hours later.
Saskatchewan is reacting to the removal of controversial amendment G4 to Bill C-21 by the federal Liberals, which banned certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
Residents in Regina's North Central community are voicing safety concerns after a water main break resulted in icy sidewalk and road conditions.
A local non-profit is hoping a new office space can help reconnect Indigenous youth to their culture.
An emergency room doctor on Vancouver Island is calling on the leadership of the health authority to resign, saying harassment by Island Health officials is prompting doctors to abandon the region amid a critical shortage of health-care workers.
A local state of emergency that was issued in Campbell River, B.C., following a landslide in mid-January has been lifted, the city announced Friday.
A man accused of fatally stabbing another man outside a busy mall in Nanaimo, B.C., has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Nanaimo RCMP.