The RCMP mistakenly informed him of the death of his son

A New Brunswick mother is still in shock after waking up Tuesday morning from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that her son had died. However, she discovered a few hours later that the police had made a mistake and that her son was still very much alive.

Donna Price said police came to her home in the wee hours of the night to tell her her 29-year-old son had been found dead in Moncton. She then had to call her relatives to tell them the sad news.

Later, in the afternoon, while going to his house to pick up personal things, someone could see that the son… was alive and well.

Ms Price said her son was once homeless and suffered from mental health issues. She fears that a certain contempt shown by the authorities towards these people could have led the RCMP to make such a terrible mistake.

She added that she intends to sue the RCMP to ensure that police forces in the future follow a certain protocol to identify deceased persons and notify their families, regardless of circumstances.

“They all have their story,” Ms. Price said in an interview. They have parents, they have grandparents, they have brothers and sisters. And no one here in Moncton is listening. »

tragic awakening

The story began shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday when Ms. Price was awakened by police knocking on the door of her home in Dieppe, New Brunswick. She invited the two young RCMP officers in and that’s when they told her that her son had died of an overdose.

Completely devastated, Ms Price phoned her father and siblings to relay the news, and they all gathered in the house in the middle of the night. Later that morning, she broke the news to her parents.

When the coroner’s office called to ask if she wanted her son cremated and to ask for his identification, Ms Price replied that she had asked someone else to come to his house to collect the information , as well as all the memories she could keep.

However, this person found his son at home… safe and sound.

“I literally asked him 10 times because I couldn’t believe it,” she said. By this time, more than 13 hours had passed since the RCMP informed her of her son’s death.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Price remained calm and in control throughout her story. However, she cracked when she had a thought for the family of the real victim.

“This family who is in mourning today, they were robbed for 1 p.m., she lamented. It was not up to us to take those 13 hours. They belonged to them, to gather their family and begin their mourning. I feel like they were stolen. »

Ms. Price asked many questions when she called the RCMP to report the error, but the officers did not answer them, in her opinion. They also asked her to provide proof that her son was still alive.

A sergeant and a constable came to her house later that afternoon and apologized, but only after she pushed hard for answers. He was eventually told that officers had taken photos of the deceased man and sent them to their colleagues. One or more police officers said they recognized the man as his son.

Prejudices linked to homelessness problems?

According to Brian Murphy, a lawyer from Moncton, this file has cause for concern among the population.

“If this was how the police identified the dead, we should all think twice. But that is not the case, he claimed. If the victim had been a businessman in a suit, I’m pretty sure the police would have acted differently. »

Mr. Murphy will represent the Price family in the lawsuit they intend to file, although no paperwork has yet been filed in court.

“It shouldn’t happen to any other family, and it shouldn’t have happened to the family of the deceased,” he said.

Guillaume Bélanger, of the New Brunswick RCMP, confirmed on Saturday that the police force was aware of the error, but he could not comment further on the file.

During this time, Mrs. Price and her family must deal with several conflicting emotions.

“We don’t know how to feel. We are very happy, but also very sad. We are very confused, she admitted. We just try to keep up with developments and be there for each other. »

Price also hopes her story will inspire municipal and provincial governments to do more to protect Moncton’s vulnerable populations. The deceased man had indeed been turned away from the city’s shelters that night, because they were full. He had survived an overdose at a prevention site earlier Monday morning, and staff members could not find him a warm place to sleep.

“It’s getting cold outside. They can’t stay out,” Ms. Price said.

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