The BC Coroners Service has announced that a public inquest will be held into the death of Deanna Renee Desjarlais.
The inquest will begin on May 7, 2018, at the Burnaby coroners’ court (20th Floor – 4720 Kingsway, Metrotower II in Metrotown, Burnaby).
Desjarlais, 27 at the time of her death, was originally from Saskatoon, and was a member of the Kawacatoose First Nation. She came to British Columbia late in 2015, and had numerous contacts with the health, justice and social services sectors in the months that followed. She was last heard from in April 2016, and was reported missing by her family in early May of that year. She was found deceased in Surrey’s Hawthorne Park in May 2016, but was not identified until the following September.
The Coroners Act permits the chief coroner to hold an inquest if the public has an interest in being informed of the circumstances surrounding the death, or if the death resulted from a practice or circumstance and similar deaths can be prevented by way of recommendations made to the public or an authority.
Presiding coroner Brynne Redford, and a jury, will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death. The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances. A jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law. An inquest is a formal process that allows for public presentation of evidence relating to a death. For more information on inquests, please visit: http://ow.ly/8WRx30gbxTr
The BC Coroners Service looks to gather the facts surrounding why a death took place and is not a fault-finding agency. It provides an independent service to the family, community, government agencies and other organizations.