Social media erupts - RCMP say dead Native woman found in ditch 'not suspicious'

Family members said the police informed them Martel had no shoes on and no cellphone when she was found.

A Native woman found dead in a ditch who was wearing no shoes and had no cellphone back in July has seen a recent upsurge in exposure as social media has erupted against the findings of the RCMP, which ruled the death as ‘not suspicious.”

According to the Vancouver Sun, the 27-year-old indigenous woman, Brittany Martel from Hay River, N.W.T., was found dead in a ditch off the busy B.C. highway near the Mine Creek Road exit on July 22 when a motorist came across her body while out for a walk as traffic was stopped due to an unrelated accident.

Social media response in full force after the findings of Merritt RCMP Cpl. Derrick Francis who sated “The autopsy didn’t show any obvious cause of death at this point, so the pathologist is still looking into it … We don’t know for sure what caused her death.”

Francis also said police still have questions regarding how Martel ended up in the ditch and became deceased, however the death isn’t considered criminal in nature because there was nothing in the autopsy indicating any harm had come to her.

Billie Jean Gabriel, an organizer of a vigil for Martel, wrote on Facebook that the “pain of what happened is enough for all of us to stand with the family.” Gabriel wrote that the findings by the RCMP as “deeper than insult and injury” and asked that people demand justice for Brittany.

Family members said the police informed them Martel had no shoes on and no cellphone when she was found.

A massive backlash to the findings hit Twitter:

One person DriveByPoster wrote on Twitter, “Sad when they make it seem normal to be dead and in a ditch because you're Indigenous. Had it been a white woman there would have been a multi-agency investigation spending millions.”

Another, MaryAlice wrote: “How in the world can someone be found dead in a ditch without shoes or a cell phone and this not be suspicious?”

The investigation has since been turned over to the B.C. Coroner’s office.


Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling

Email -vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com


Are you using the new mobile platform? Get Indian Country Today on your phone.

Google Play (Android)

Apple

Comments (25)
No. 1-16
ShadowWolf
ShadowWolf

Let me get this straight. A woman is found in a ditch and the RCMP doesn't find this at all suspicious? Where exactly did they train for their jobs? I wouldn't care if she had shoes on and a cell phone it would still be suspicious but the very fact that neither were on/with her is really suspicious. I don't care that the autopsy doesn't show anything yet - it's suspicious and should be treated that way. Hopefully, the B.C. Coroner's office will get to the bottom of this and not just write this young lady off the way the RCMP did.

AllardLynne
AllardLynne

How disgusting! The RCMP are beyond racist and it oozes out during every investigation they touch. There needs to be a complete overhaul done within these organizations.

RavenReid
RavenReid

We’ve been subjected to Canada’s racism long enough!! That young woman could’ve been anyone of us and yet the general society treats us like we don’t matter. When will this change? When we take over the government, that’s when. When our people start becoming lawyers and judges and police officers and politicians, then we will see change. It’s so shitty that we have to be 10 times better than the average white person in order to have some respect. We are human too. We matter too.

Teri09
Teri09

What about Jayson or Troy Rodgers?! If she was missing RCMP SHOULD have checked into her social media accounts and surely they could have seen what kind of risk he is. At LEAST a suspect!! Just because she frequently hitched that infamous #HighwayofTears does not mean that it should NOT be investigated further, especially with what is obviously public knowledge. So how about it #BCRCMP #MerrittRCMP ?! Is he going to be checked out?! Will you take it seriously now? Too many not being taken seriously and if the government and the RCMP want us to believe the disgustingly obtuse “explanations” of First Nation Woman’s missing and suspicious disappearances and deaths; then people wake up!!!! They really think we’re idiots who have no ability as a people and a nation to see what is obviously a rouse to subdue our consciousness. Another fact, we all can’t be soothed by openly racist comments, excuses or explanations! We are rising again as a unified gender, race, and remembering that Creator chose Somme of us to have the voice for those who no longer can. Ancestors of long ago or recently departed, there is no line to be drawn in getting PROPER justice for them. Aho!

Rockcreek
Rockcreek

How sad , a human life just thrown away and RCMP says cannot help! Such a reflection from society as it slowly slides to chaos .

selimor31
selimor31

This gracious young Amerindian woman's death should certainly be investigated into more thoroughly. Soyez sérieux, Messieurs les Canadiens!

Always Smiling
Always Smiling

ANYONE just found in a DITCH needs to be examined Thoroughly !that it is Not suspect, is is not True ! If this were someone's Grand Mother or a minor child, or white...all efforts would have been made . If for some Good ole" boy tactics, or the pimping and pumping out of propoganda of one of the arms of the management team or better known as " Public Newspapers".

DanCyn
DanCyn

I pray the BC Coroner's inquest produces better results than the insulting inept RCMP's findings ... which amounted to nothing! 🙏

🍞&🌹's

Inmycountry
Inmycountry

First of all whomever wrote this felt no remorse for her life or her families feelings. Also, that this person wasn't worthy enough or important enough in their eyes to do a thorough Investigation on her death. As long as no one stirs the pot nothing will be done. It is truly time that Canada be accountable for all the blood shed of indigenous peoples and racism and ill treatment of beautiful native people on their own land. It's time to stop!

Red Neechie
Red Neechie

Well then. I suppose when its Rcmp bodies found in the ditch. Ah, no shoes?, no problem not suspicious. Carry on Canada!

SteveBrown
SteveBrown

As a journalist, I'd have to say that a woman found dead in a ditch in a different province than where she lived with no shoes on and her cell phone nowhere to be found, is extremely suspicious, and indicative of a murder. While no cause of death has been determined, these other facts strongly indicate a thorough investigation needs to take place. Police should be doing a search along that stretch of highway to see if her phone or shoes or other items could be found that would help them piece together what happened to her. If they can't be found, that would indicate someone dumped her body. How horrible for her family.

Tanyaens
Tanyaens

How is this susipicious?? Noone has written her off. They explained thier findings so far. This is what they found right now. So cool your jets. And how is this racist?? Why make this about race? Its probaly as is. She went to party. Lost her phone and shoes and died of exposure passed out in a ditch.

Reaper666
Reaper666

How are these types of officers still allowed to be cops when the publicly say stuff like this? The guy should be fired and publicly shamed till he commits suicide. Cops like this are fucked in the head. He didnt stop ti think before he told the family that. He didnt stop and say "of course its suspicious, an inuk died in our province but its not suspicious"

Justsomecanadian
Justsomecanadian

They are doing their jobs. They are collecting evidence, they are doing the autopsy.. they didn't just find her and go oh a native in the ditch, that's totally normal and not at all suspicious, no investigation needed. They are investigating. They found no EVIDENCE that she was harmed by another person YET ("the pathologist is still looking in to it") There is absolutely nothing telling them there was foul play or that there was. They have nothing and they are just sharing what they know. It doesn't look suspicious, but they are still investigating to find out what happened. Maybe they shouldn't have said it doesn't look "suspicious". They didn't say there was no evidence of foul play, clearly foul play is on the table. You all need to sit back and actually read what is written and think about what it means and not just jump to conclusions because you think everyone is racist/sexist. Just read and and make a decision for yourselves and don't read other's comments on it before thinking for yourself first.

renegademax
renegademax

And so it goes, the continuing genocide of Native Peoples. As we all know, many First Nations women have been murdered, so Brittany Martel's body should have set off alarm bells and triggered a massive investigation. At this stage it's pointless to speculate why no shoes or phone, or the who and how of it. We'll have to wait and see how the investigation progresses.

Stargazer_1980
Stargazer_1980

Any loss of life is a tragedy, especially if it is not of natural causes. However, the rcmp or any police establishment, is not obligated to provide the whole scenario, pending an investigation. I am wondering how the family feels about this. Is the phone at home,and can they account for it. Was it a domestic, and she fled. Both warrant further investigation. But just for a moment assume jobs are being done right, and without some semblance of trust in the greater good, you can find fault in everything