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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Death in Bluewater

Case Number: 15-PCD-254

Mississauga (3 December, 2015) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit has concluded that Ontario Provincial Police officers did not contribute to the death of a 32-year-old woman who drowned in the waters of Lake Huron on November 1, 2015.

The SIU assigned three investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, two civilian witnesses and two witness officers were interviewed. The subject officer did not participate in an SIU interview and did not provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place that evening:
  • Sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., the deceased woman left a nearby family cottage and walked alone to the beach at the foot of Pavilion Road in Bluewater.
  • After an hour, when the woman had not returned to the cottage, family members went in search of the woman.
  • Not long after that, the woman could be seen about 100 to 150 feet from shore.  
  • The family called 911.
  • When police arrived, the woman in the water was heard yelling.
  • A family member and the subject officer entered the water arm in arm but were unable to locate the woman as the waves were breaking over their heads.
  • Approximately one hour later, firefighters and the Coast Guard (utilizing a search and rescue helicopter) located the woman’s body and brought her to shore.      

The pathologist determined that the cause of death was drowning.

Director Loparco said, “It is clear that the responding officer waded into the lake in full uniform in a well-intentioned but unsuccessful attempt to rescue the woman.

“I find no action or inaction on the part of the police in any way contributed to the death of the woman.” 

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Jason Gennaro, jason.gennaro@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-641-1897 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 1897