Tag Archives: Police in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Police Investigating Who Wrote ‘I Killed Those Kids’ on Train Car

APTN National News | June 8, 2017

Thunder Bay police say it is investigating who wrote “I killed those kids’ in black marker on an old train car near the site of where the body of Jethro Anderson was found in 2000.

APTN National News knows this because on Thursday a Thunder Bay detective called APTN reporter Kenneth Jackson, who found the writing and tweeted a picture of it Wednesday evening.

Det. John Read asked Jackson if he could meet with an investigator at police headquarters and give a statement recorded on camera.

Jackson declined saying he had nothing to offer, explaining he saw the writing, took a picture and tweeted it.

“You found information about somebody killing kids. That’s pretty important information don’t you think?” said Read.

When Jackson explained again he had nothing to offer, Read said it’s policy to have people who find information in a potential homicide to give a recorded statement.

“You are potentially a witness to something incredibly important,” said Read.

Jackson explained he didn’t see who wrote it, or when it was written, but did say he never touched the train car so perhaps police could check for fingerprints.

The writing is on an old VIA passenger car next to Kaministiquia River where Anderson, 15, was found. It was still there Thursday afternoon.

His death was the first of seven First Nations youth that were the focus of an inquest that wrapped up last year. The inquest ruled his death as undetermined.

Family said it took Thunder Bay police days to launch an investigation into Anderson’s disappearance back in 2000. Two more First Nation youth were pulled for waterways last month: Tammy Keeash, 17, and Josiah Begg, 14.

Keeash’s mother said she doesn’t accept that her daughter drowned in the Neebing McIntyre floodway as there was no water where her body was found and is it is full of heavy reads.

Keeash also had markings on her face and hands as reported Tuesday by APTN.

Police said Wednesday they have examined the evidence and don’t suspect foul play but the case remains open.



Thunder Bay Police Rejects First Nation Leaders’ Call for RCMP Probe of River Deaths

APTN National News |

The acting chief of the beleaguered Thunder Bay police force rejected a call from First Nation leaders for the RCMP to step in and investigate three waterway deaths in the city.

Thunder Bay police acting Chief Sylvie Hauth said during a press conference Wednesday that she did not believe it to be “practical” or “necessary” to call in the Mounties.

The Ontario government has said only Hauth, as acting police chief, has the power to call in the RCMP.

Hauth became acting chief after the Ontario Provincial Police charged Thunder Bay police Chief J.P. Levesque with obstruction of justice and breach of trust after he allegedly disclosed confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs.

First Nation leaders have said the local Indigenous community has no confidence in the Thunder Bay police or the OPP to investigate the deaths of Indigenous people.

Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Grand Council Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh and Rainy River First Nations Chief Jim Leonard last week called on the RCMP to investigate the deaths of: Tammy Keeash, 17, who was living in a group home and found dead in the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway on May 7; Josiah Begg, 14, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on May 18; and Stacy DeBungee, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015.

The chiefs could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hauth said the OPP completed a review of how the city police handled the DeBungee investigation on May 15. The Thunder Bay police said earlier Wednesday there were no plans to release the report.

The Thunder Bay police botched the handling of DeBungee’s death investigation, according to private investigator David Perry, a former senior Toronto homicide detective. Thunder Bay detectives shut the file on DeBungee, declaring it to be accidental, before the conclusion of an autopsy examination.

Perry discovered DeBungee’s debit card was used after his death and that his identification cards were strewn on the river bank near where he was found mixed in with the identification material of another individual who has not yet been found.

Hauth said the OPP review now also extends to the Keeash and Begg deaths.

Serious questions still remain around the deaths of three of seven First Nation youth who were the subject of a coroner’s inquest which ended in June 2016. Five of the seven youth died in Thunder Bay’s waterways and three of those deaths were found to be “undetermined” by the coroner’s jury.

Perry told APTN it’s highly possible foul play may be behind some of these river deaths.

The Thunder Bay police now says it is investigating whether Indigenous youth are being targeted.


Thunder Bay Police Officer’s Facebook Post Prompts Professional Standards Investigation

Thunder Bay police said they 'would like to apologize to our Indigenous community for the hurt' that may have been caused by comments allegedly made by a police officer on social media.

Thunder Bay police said they ‘would like to apologize to our Indigenous community for the hurt’ that may have been caused by comments allegedly made by a police officer on social media.

Police apologize to Indigenous community for ‘the hurt these comments may cause’

CBC, September 30, 2016

A Thunder Bay, Ont., police officer who posted on Facebook that “Natives are killing Natives” is the subject of an internal investigation launched Thursday by the city’s police service.

The comments were posted by Const. Rob Steudle, a director with the police association and a recipient of the Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.

Steudle was responding to a post on the local paper’s Facebook page on Sept. 17.

Thunder Bay police say this is the Facebook post that prompted their internal investigation. (Facebook)

Thunder Bay police say this is the Facebook post that prompted their internal investigation. (Facebook)

Steudle does not identify himself as a police officer on his Facebook profile.

CBC News has verified Steudle’s identity, and Thunder Bay police spokesman Chris Adams confirmed the post is the one referred to in the media release announcing the investigation into comments “alleged” to involve members of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

“These types of comments are not acceptable,” Adams said. “They do not reflect the values of the Thunder Bay Police Service. We would like to apologize to our Indigenous community for the hurt these comments may cause.”

Here is a timeline leading to the launch of the internal police investigation:

  • Sept. 13: CBC News reports allegations that a race-relations trainer was verbally assaulted by Thunder Bay police officerswhile delivering a session on Indigenous issues
  • Sept. 14-15: The local paper, the Chronicle Journal, writes an article and an editorial downplaying the concerns raised by the trainer.
  • Sept. 16: Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler writes a letter to the editor of the Chronicle Journal about the response by the police and the newspaper to the concerns about the race relations training. The letter is posted on Facebook.
  • Sept. 17-18: Rob Steudle posts several comments on the Facebook posting.
  • Sept. 29: Thunder Bay police respond to an APTN reporter’s request for comment on the Facebook post.

“We would like to thank the reporter from APTN News for bringing these comments forward to police,” the force said in the news release issued on Thursday.

The professional standards investigation comes as the Thunder Bay police are facing a systemic review by the province’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director for the way the service handles investigations into the deaths of Indigenous people.

Earlier this week, Ottawa police launched an investigation into a complaint that an Ottawa police officer made “troubling” commentson social media related to the death of Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook.


Mother Of Indigenous Woman Found Naked On Thunder Bay Street Criticizes Police Response

A woman was found naked and calling for help on this street near the rail tracks on the north side of Thunder Bay, Ont., around midnight on March 10. Thunder Bay police say there is no evidence to support a criminal charge. (Jody Porter/CBC)

A woman was found naked and calling for help on this street near the rail tracks on the north side of Thunder Bay, Ont., around midnight on March 10. Thunder Bay police say there is no evidence to support a criminal charge. (Jody Porter/CBC)

By Jody Porter, CBC News Posted: Mar 22, 2016

Witness says woman told police a man tried to kill her, but police say no grounds for laying charges

The mother of a 28-year-old woman found naked and crying for help late one night in Thunder Bay, Ont., says police are ignoring a crime because her daughter is a First Nations woman and an addict.

Robin Sutherland, 31, said he and another man responded to a woman’s calls for help on Clavet Street around 12:15 a.m. on March 10.

“We saw a naked lady approaching us and she was quite distressed, screaming for help, and so she came up to us and I gave her my sweater to warm her up,” Sutherland said.

He stuck around after police arrived, waiting to get his sweater back. He said he heard the woman tell police she had been paid for sex that night and the transaction had gone horribly wrong.

“She started off by saying that he tried to kill her and drown her in the lake,” Sutherland said.

Clavet Street rail way

The industrial area across the railway tracks, near Lake Superior, on Thunder Bay’s north side, is a common place for prostitutes to be taken, says the mother of a woman who says her daughter sells sex to support her drug habit. (Jody Porter/CBC)

The woman’s mother said her daughter told her the same story.

CBC News is not identifying the mother because she said her daughter still fears for her safety.

“She said, ‘Mom, I thought I was going to die. He almost threw me in the water, naked,'” the mother said. “She showed me her bruises and how he dragged her and tried to drive off with her hanging on to the vehicle because her clothes were in the vehicle and she was all naked.”

“When he got out and attempted to throw her in the vehicle, that’s when she ran,” the mother added.

She said she is aware that her 28-year-old daughter sells sex in order to pay for the fentanyl to which she has become addicted, but said that is not an excuse for police inaction.

‘It’s because my daughter is First Nations’

“I think it’s because my daughter is First Nations and is a drug addict and that’s already two strikes against her, and this man who attempted to kill her is not First Nations,” the mother said.

CBC News attempted to contact the woman, without success, through Facebook and through her mother.

Thunder Bay police said they are also attempting to get in touch with her again.

“At the time of the original investigation, there were no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges,” said Thunder Bay police spokeswoman Julie Tilbury. “We would be interested in following up further with the complainant.”

Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette

Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette, of the Ontario Native Women’s Association, says studies show indigenous women who are sexually exploited are more likely to become counted among the missing and murdered. (Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette/Facebook)

The police response is “disheartening,” especially as awareness grows around the dangers faced by indigenous women, said Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette, the interim executive director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association.

“There’s a direct connection … reports show that those [indigenous women] who have been sexually exploited are at even greater risk of becoming a missing or murdered indigenous woman,” McGuire-Cyrette said.

Sutherland said he noticed police showed “a bit less care and less compassion” when the woman told them she was a prostitute.

After the ambulance came to get the woman, Sutherland said, the police officer handed him back his sweater using two fingers and said “to wash or burn it as soon as I got a chance.”

Sutherland said he didn’t think twice about giving the woman his sweater, even though it had his keys and money in the pockets.

“She needed help, I wasn’t going to just leave her there,” he said.