APTN National News
Nine First Nations youth have died in the northwestern Ontario city of Thunder Bay over the last 17 years.
Seven died by the river’s edge, including two just this year.
Ontario’s coroner held an inquest in 2015 into 7 of the students who died. The jury issued 145 recommendations directed at Canada, the province of Ontario and the city of Thundery Bay.
Thunder Bay police insist they are not in a crisis but are experiencing “challenging times” and conducting business as usual.
Here is a timeline of events.
November 11, 2000
The body of Jethro Anderson, 15, from Kasabonika Lake First Nation is discovered Kaministiquia River.
“We don’t know what happened to him. I guess he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Dora Morris, Jethro’s aunt.
“It’s still a mystery,” she said. “We don’t know what happened to him. I guess he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Morris remembers giving Anderson and her own son money to go to the mall. The two got separated, apparently, and Anderson never came back.
An inquest called into the deaths of the seven students found Anderson’s cause of death to be undetermined.
September 26, 2005
Curran Strang, 18, from Pikangikum First Nation is discovered in the McIntyre River. He was attending the Dennis Cromarty Franklin school in the city.
November 11, 2006
Paul Panacheese, 21, from Mishkeegogamang First Nation died at home while his mother was upstairs getting ready for bed. According to his mother, Paul turned to drugs and alcohol in the last two years of his life.
“He was really nice,” she said. “Paul always dreamed of going somewhere, of exploring the world.
“The doctor told me there weren’t enough drugs or alcohol that would kill him,” his mother said. “They wanted to know our family history, it had something to do with his heart.”
The inquest found his death to be accidental.
January 13, 2007
Robyn Harper, 18, from Keewaywin First Nation told her her mother Tina that Robyn told Tina she wanted to come home during that week.
Then she received another phone call one early morning on the weekend.
“All they told me was that they rushed her to the hospital that morning that she died in the boarding home,” said Tina.
The inquest found Robyn died an accidental death due to an alleged overdose.
November 1, 2007
Reggie Bushie, 15, from Poplar Hill First Nation was found lifeless in the McIntyre River. He was attending Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.
Reggie had an appreciation for language and music, according to his brother Richie Bushie.
His death was declared accidental by the coroner’s inquest jury.
June 6, 2008
Ontario’s Coroner announces an inquest into the death of 15-year-old Reggie Bushie.
The family of Reggie Bushie, with the backing the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, asks that the inquest be put on hold until First Nation jurors can be found. People living on-reserve are not included in a local municipality’s jury roll so are left out. The case is decided in court.
November 10, 2009
Kyle Morrisseau,17, from Keewaywin First Nation was missing for two weeks before his body was discovered in the McIntyre River in Thunder Bay. He he had been missing for nearly two weeks.
“Twenty-four hours came along and there was still no sign,” said Christie Kakegumic, Morrisseau’s sister. “It wasn’t like him to not call home. He called almost every day.”
Morrisseau’s family prayed it was him every time the phone rang, but it was never Morrisseau at the other end of the line.
Morriseau’s cause of death was found to be undetermined by the Ontario inquest jury.
May 10, 2011
Jordan Wabasse, 15, from Webequie First Nation was pulled from the Kaministiquia River.
He was enrolled at the Matawa Learning Centre in Thunder Bay. An inquest called by the Ontario Coroner’s Office found the cause that led to his death as “undetermined.”
September 12, 2011
The Nishnawbe Aski Nation calls for the Reggie Bushie inquest to include all the First Nations students who died under similar circumstances in Thunder Bay.
September 1, 2012
The Thunder Bay Police Service mistakenly issues a mock news release after an arrest is made in the murder of Adam Yellowhead. The release states that “fresh breath killer” was captured in Kenora. A human rights complaint is filed. Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs calls it a “coping mechanism” for police.
October 5, 2015
The inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations students gets underway. The inquest will run from October to June 2016.
October 7, 2015
Julian Falconer, the lawyer representing the Nishnawbe Aski Nation questions doctors on the possibility that some of the students were murdered.
October 29, 2015
Stacy DeBungee, 41, from the Rainy River First Nation was pulled from the McIntyre River in the same location where Kyle Morrisseau was found earlier.
Thunder Bay police mishandled DeBungee’s death investigation and failed to follow leads that included evidence DeBungee’s debit card was used after his death, according to an investigation by David Perry, a former top Toronto police homicide detective. Thunder Bay police immediately ruled his death accidental and caused by alcohol before the completion of a post mortem. The OPP recently reviewed the case after two requests from Thunder Bay police.
March 29, 2016
Christina Gliddly, was found unconscious by the McIntyre River.
APTN National News: Death and questions along Thunder Bay’s “river of tears”
The authorities said the 28-year-old mother from Wunnumin Lake First Nation died of exposure.
Her family doesn’t believe the police and coroner’s version of her death.
Gliddy’s sister Delilah Ostamus said she wants to see a reopening of her sister’s case.
“Some of her clothes were missing and one of her shoes,” said Ostamus. “We tried asking why there were marks on her body, bruise-like marks and her head had two big bumps.”
The Thunder Bay police did not return requests for comment seeking a status update on Christina Gliddy’s case.
June 28, 2016
Thunder Bay Inquest jury releases 145 recommendations aimed at the federal, provincial and Thunder Bay governments to improve safety for First Nations students.
October 5, 2016
A Thunder Bay police officer suspended over alleged racist comments against Indigenous peoples posted online. Four other officers are on administrative duties.
November 3, 2016
The director of the Office of the Independent Police Review Gerry McNeilly announces that he is launching a systemic review of the Thunder Bay police.
The terms of reference include:
• Existing policies, practices and attitudes of the Thunder Bay Police Service as they relate specifically to Indigenous missing persons and death investigations, and more generally, to issues around racism-free policing, such as “over-policing” and “under-policing”
• Whether missing persons and death investigations involving Indigenous Peoples are conducted in discriminatory ways
• The adequacy and effectiveness of existing policies and identified best practices relating to the above issues
• The adequacy of training and education provided to supervisors and front-line officers relating to the above issues
• The extent to which compliance with existing policies or identified best practices is monitored and supported
• The extent to which officers are held accountable for non-compliance
• The extent to which the service communicates with Indigenous family members, communities, and their leaders, engages in community outreach or has specialized liaison units
• The extent to which complaints about the service’s interactions with Indigenous Peoples are inhibited by reprisals or fear of reprisals
• Whether policies, practices, training, education, oversight and accountability mechanisms,
and community outreach should be created, modified or enhanced to prevent discriminatory and ineffective policing, particularly in the context of investigations into the disappearances and deaths of Indigenous Peoples
January 31, 2017
Barbara Kentner is hit by a trailer hitch that was thrown from a car. According to some residents, this is not an isolated incident.
APTN National News: Woman hit by trailer hitch thrown from vehicle not an isolated incident
May 7, 2017
Tammy Keeash, 17, from North Caribou Lake First Nation, also known as Weagamow Lake, was found in the reeds by the edge of a Thunder Bay floodway.
Tammy was discovered in a Thunder Bay floodway in May of 2017. Police initially said no foul play was suspected. In the week following the discovery of her body, Nishnawbe Aski Nation called for her death to be treated as a homicide.
“I think something happened to her. Something more than what cops are telling me,” Pearl Slipperjack, Tammy Keeash’s mother.
APTN National News reporters Willow Fiddler and Kenneth Jackson discovered that according to a church pastor who discovered her, Keeash was found with her pants down.
APTN National News: Eyewitness contradicts Thunder Bay police account of Tammy Keeash death
May 18, 2017
Josiah Begg, 14, from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Nation. the youngest of the Thunder Bay youths at just 14 years old, went missing the same night as Tammy Keeash but was missing for almost two weeks when his body was found in the McIntyre River by Ontario Provincial Police.
Begg was missing for almost two weeks when his body was found in the McIntyre River by Ontario Provincial Police divers.
He had just arrived in Thunder Bay for appointments with his father shortly before he went missing.
“We are in a lot of pain and sorrow about the outcome and the result when Josiah was found,” Josiah’s grandfather Mike McKay.
May 23, 2017
Gerry McNeilly, the head of the Office of the Independent Police Review expands his systemic review of the Thunder Bay police to include the deaths of Josiah Begg, 14 and Tammy Keeash, 17.
May 24, 2017
Thunder Bay Police Chief Jean Paul (J.P.) Levesque is charged with obstruction of justice and breach of trust.
APTN National News: Thunder Bay police chief charged with obstruction of justice, breach of trust
Levesque was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police for disclosing confidential information about Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs.
May 31, 2017
June 2, 2017
June 6, 2017
APTN National News: Donations to Thunder Bay shelter brings everyone to tears
June 7, 2017
Thunder Bay Police Board Chair Jackie Dojack, Interim Thunder Bay Police Chief Sylvie Hauth, and Acting Deputy Chief Don Lewis hold a news conference to discuss the media reports in the city.
According to Dojack and Hauth, there is no crisis and it’s “business as usual.”
On the same day that the Thunder Bay police say it is “business as usual,” APTN National News correspondent Kenneth Jackson publishes a story about condition of Tammy Keeash when she was found.
APTN National News: Did Tammy Keeash have bite marks on her hand? Her mom thinks so
June 8, 2017
16-year-old Jayden Matthews tells APTN his story about nearly being abducted walking home from the hospital early one morning.
APTN National News: A rock and a bite saved young boy from abduction in Thunder Bay
June 9, 2017
June 10, 2017
APTN correspondent Jorge Barrera interviews former Toronto detective David Perry about the Thunder Bay police and the questions being raised about death investigations.
June 12, 2017
After APTN National News correspondent Kenneth Jackson posts a picture of graffiti on the side of a via rail car in Thunder Bay – police make an arrest. Glenn Kwandibens, 27 is charged with mischief. Coincidentally, Kwandibens was being interviewed the previous night by Jackson when police walked up and interrupted the interview.
APTN National News: Thunder Bay man charged with writing “I killed those kids” denies he wrote it
June 13, 2017
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says while every Canadian should be concerned about their safety, he will not intervene in Thunder Bay policing situation.
June 16, 2017
APTN Investigates Correspondents Cullen Crozier airs this episode: To Serve and Protect
June 19, 2017
APTN National News: Death and questions along Thunder Bay’s ‘river of tears’
June 22, 2017
July 12, 2017
APTN National News: Family and friends say goodbye to Barbara Kentner in Thunder Bay
July 20, 2017
July 21, 2017
August 1, 2017
August 22, 2017
APTN National News: Threats force Barbara Kentner’s family from Thunder Bay as death probe continues
August 23, 2017
September 12, 2017
APTN National News: Ontario police reviewing 9 #MMIW Thunder Bay cases
September 25, 2017
APTN National News: Body pulled from Thunder Bay River is a First Nations man
September 26, 2017
APTN National News: Ontario Police watchdog hosts meeting in Thunder Bay to talk about police
September 28, 2017
APTN National News: Police pull unconscious man from Thunder Bay river
October 30, 2017