By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Toronto police investigators hope cell phone records will begin dissolving the mystery still shrouding the death of a Cree woman who fell 31 storeys from a condo balcony in the early morning hours of a Saturday this past July.
Investigators have obtained a production order from a judge to access the cell phone records of most of the individuals present inside unit 3109 on the morning of July 20 when Bella Laboucan-McLean, 25, fell to her death at 21 Iceboat Terr., APTN National News has learned. Investigators needed the court order to get the records from cell phone service providers.
“We are trying to get information from all the cell phones that were present that night,” said the source.
APTN National News has also learned the identities of at least two of the men who were in the condo at the time of death.
Police were alerted to Laboucan-McLean’s death at about 5 a.m. when a neighbour called police after hearing a strange sound and seeing a body on the ground.
Investigators went into the condo building and began knocking on doors in the section of the building from where they believed she fell. They came up empty.
Twelve hours after Laboucan-McLean was found dead, a man phoned police from the condo unit to report her missing.
Investigators were later told that no one at the party realized that Laboucan-McLean had disappeared.
With the cell phone records, investigators will be able to determine whether there was an increase in data transmissions at the time of her death and whether calls were made to and from the cell phones and who made the calls.
Laboucan-McLean grew up in her mother’s community of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Alberta. Her father Billy Joe Laboucan is the Chief of the Lubicon Lake Band. She had recently graduated from Humber College’s Fashion Arts program and was planning to launch a career in the industry. She also attended the University of Alberta.
Her death stunned her friends and family who believe there is no way she would have taken her own life.
A vigil held near the spot where she died in August was attended by actor Tantoo Cardinal and author Naomi Klein.
Six months later, the case remains open and investigators have yet to determine whether the death was accidental, suicide or murder. While the case is being monitored by homicide detectives, it is currently in the hands of 14 Division’s Criminal Investigation Bureau.
Investigators have so far interviewed Andrew James, aka OX, who was renting the condo, and Anthony Rankine, aka Tony Ranks, who was Laboucan-McLean’s friend and brought her to the party. Police also interviewed two women from Montreal who attended the party.
Investigators believe a third man named “Sergio” may also have been in attendance, but none of the people interviewed were able to provide his last name.
Laboucan-McLean’s sister, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, said she hopes the cell phone records and the emergence of the identities of some of the individuals at the party will begin to bring answers to questions still haunting the family.
“After seeking to understand the circumstances that led to the death of my sister, I am hoping that the emergence of phone records and the names of two individuals can begin a process that will finally fill in some of our family’s many unanswered questions about that tragic night,” said Laboucan-Massimo.
APTN National News attempted to contact James, who also goes by the name of Jameal Lewis. James’ Facebook page contains publicly available photos depicting a large, gemstone encrusted pendant fashioned into the letters O and X.
James, Rankine and Laboucan-McLean were at the nightclub Tryst before heading out to the condo. Photos from clubcatcher.com from the night of July 19 show James at the club.
Rankine, who is also a hip hop artist named Scandalis, told APTN National News he was interviewed for three hours by police.
“The truth has been told already,” said Rankine. “None of us knew she fell until we woke up next day. The police have all this information.”
Rankine said the death “totally flipped my life upside down. Such a sad situation.”
Rankine said he hasn’t been in contact with James or Sergio “for months.”
He refused to provide any more information to APTN National News.
“The public can think what they want. I told the police everything from that night. She was my friend, you don’t know her. You just want a story. I will speak to you about the story when I am ready,” said Rankine.
Investigators, however, believe the party was still going at the time of Laboucan-McLean’s death.
“They were partying when the police was called at 5 a.m.,” said the police source.
Laboucan-Massimo said she is still holding out hope that those present in the condo will finally provide more information about the fateful night.
“It continues to be our hope that all the people who were there will come forward with more information to help with the case and bring a sense of closure and healing to Bella’s family, friends and loved ones,” she said.
Laboucan-McLean left her phone in the condo. The phone is still in the hands of investigators.