The Independent Investigations Office of BC looks into incidents of serious harm or death involving police in B.C., is investigating what role, if any, the police’s actions or inaction may have had in a person’s death. (Black Press Media files)

RCMP cleared after B.C. woman found dead in home, despite police check

Elizabeth Joanna Napierala, 45, was reported missing on Sept. 3, 2019

B.C.’s police watchdog has ruled out any wrongdoing by police after a missing woman was found dead inside her North Vancouver home.

Elizabeth Joanna Napierala, 45, was reported missing on Sept. 3, 2019 after Mounties carried out a welfare check at her one-bedroom apartment on Fullerton Avenue. Police continued to look for the woman in the area and nearby trails, and asked the public to keep an eye out for her.

Napierala’s body was found underneath her bed two days later, on Sept. 5, by officers revisiting her apartment, according to a newly released report by the Independent Investigation Office of B.C.

The B.C. Coroners Service determined the woman had died of “diphenhydramine toxicity,” an antihistamine used in many common allergy, motion sickness and sleep medications.

Investigators with the IIO were deployed to determine if police actions or inactions played a role in Napierala’s death.

In the independent agency’s findings, released Thursday, the IIO said it’s believed the woman died sometime between Sept. 3 and 5 – possibly before police conducted their initial welfare check – but that the arrangement of bags and boxes around the bedroom blocked any view to under the bed.

“The RCMP as an organization did everything that could reasonable be expected of them,” the report reads.

If you feel like you are in crisis or are considering suicide, please call the Crisis Centre BC suicide hotline at 1-800-784-2433.

Other resources include: Canada Suicide Prevention Service at Toll free: 1-833-456-4566. You can also text 45645 or visit the online chat service at crisisservicescanada.ca.

Some warning signs include suicidal thoughts, anger, recklessness, mood changes, anxiety, lack of purpose, helplessness and substance abuse.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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