Chrissy Wheeler (left) and Candice Wheeler (right) wonders why authorities didn't notify them of their sister Courtney's death.
Calgary family members slam notification process after finding authorities failed to notify them of the death of their sister Courtney Wheeler, a young Indigenous woman died in December 2021.
The young woman was buried in January, in the absence of all her relatives, who were not informed of her death until the end of May in social networks.
< p class="e-p">There was no one [at his funeral], no flowers as if no one cared, laments Courtney's youngest sister, Candice Wheeler.
“She was much loved and deserved much better.
It regularly happened that Courtney Wheeler did not give any news, according to her family. Before her death, the young woman struggled with addiction and homelessness.
At the end of May, Candice Wheeler received a Facebook message: a friend of her sister informed him of her death. Another friend had read an obituary on the funeral home's website.
The chief medical examiner confirmed the death, which had taken place five months earlier .
Courtney Wheeler died in December 2021 and was buried the following month without loved ones who were unaware of her passing.
Courtney Wheeler's family raises all the more questions about the process that followed the death of the young woman as it is not the first failure of the system. In February, Tara Niptaniak was buried in Calgary under an incorrect name and without her family, residing in Nunavut, being notified.
In the majority of cases, < /strong>when a person dies without being identified or claimed by the family, the office of the chief medical examiner manages to notify the family within hours of their death, according to the Alberta Department of Justice. Otherwise, the office continues its search until all leads have been exhausted.
In a statement, Department spokesperson Katherine Thompson said the Chief Medical Examiner is working with police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other organizations to trace next of kin.
The spokesperson adds that she cannot discuss specific cases due to privacy laws. Calgary police gave the same explanation.
Family members of Courtney Wheeler believe the process looks good on paper, but do not believe it was followed on the letter in the case of the latter.
Candice Wheeler and her family are struggling to grieve without understanding all of the circumstances that led to Courtney Wheeler's burial without notification of loved ones.
Candice Wheeler says authorities tried to find them for a month before passing the case to the office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. This is responsible for the burials of people without family at the funeral directors.
The family members do not understand how no one could find them. The sisters as well as Courtney Wheeler's mother all have the same last name, all live in Calgary and haven't moved or changed phone numbers in years.
According Candice Wheeler, the police should have had her contact on file, given that she had already reported her sister missing some other time in 2019.
The three women were also listed as family members of Courtney on Courtney's Facebook page.
A stranger was able to track us down to inform us of [Courtney's] death. , says Chrissy Wheeler, the older sister. If a stranger was able to find us, how come the police didn't get there, or anyone else?
Candice Wheeler wonders if the police didn't didn't stigmatize her sister and did her job less well because Courtney was homeless and Indigenous. The family is from the Cumberland House Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.
According to her, the police assumed that no one was concerned about Courtney's fate.
Family members hope that talking about Courtney's case will prevent other similar situations.
Even though there have been ' other funerals since, they are still struggling to grieve without having the answers to all their questions.
According to information from Paul Duhatschek