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Family grieves daughter who died after Thunder Bay police did not respond to 911 call

January 5, 2024  By The Canadian Press


Jan. 5, 2024, Thunder Bay, Ont. – The family of a woman found dead in northern Ontario after officers reportedly did not respond to a 911 call say the case raises concerns about the treatment of First Nations women by Thunder Bay police.

The family of Jenna Ostberg, in a statement shared by the Windigo First Nations Council, asked for privacy as they “grieve the loss of their daughter who died under tragic circumstances.”

Ontario’s police watchdog says a 21-year-old woman was found dead at a residence in Thunder Bay on Saturday.

The Special Investigation Unit says police did not respond to the scene after an initial 911 domestic disturbance call was made from the residence, or to a follow-up call to “cancel” the first call for service.

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The family says they will wait for the results of a coroner’s report, as well as more information from the SIU, before they make further comment or decide how to proceed.

But the statement says the family fears their daughter “is the latest victim of inadequate and unjust policing services received by First Nation women in particular, in Thunder Bay.”

A number of probes in recent years have concluded systemic racism toward Indigenous people exists in the Thunder Bay Police Service at an institutional level, citing examples of sudden-death cases being inadequately investigated due to racist attitudes and stereotyping.

A spokesman for the service says he could not comment further Friday, referring to rules preventing police from releasing details about an incident being investigated by the SIU, but directed The Canadian Press to a statement from the police union.

The Thunder Bay Police Association’s statement Friday urged the SIU director to release further details about the case “aimed at ensuring transparency among community members and to safeguard trust” between the police and community.


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