Mother of Chantel Moore seeks answers, change after son's suicide
VICTORIA -- An Indigenous mother grappling with the devastating loss of both of her children just months apart is calling for change and answers.
Chantel Moore’s family is mourning after her 23-year-old brother died by suicide while at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre on Nov. 14.
Moore, 26, was shot and killed by an Edmundston, N.B., police officer during a wellness check on June 4.
“I’ve had to plan a funeral for my son and my daughter,” said Martha Martin. “It’s the hardest thing to do as a mother. You should never have to.”
Martin has flown from News Brunswick, where she lives, to collect her son’s ashes in Nanaimo.
“My son and my daughter had always been really close and I feel like the system has let both of my kids down,” said Martin.
A close friend of the family who is helping them search for answers and justice tells CTV News Mike Martin was struggling with the loss of his sister.
Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council, said the loss is unimaginable for the family.
“He was very young. He was reeling still from the impact of the death of his sister,” said Sayers. “He was having a hard time dealing with that.”
Martin describes the relationship between them as a close bond.
“They were very close ... When she first came to meet him at the hospital she loved him from the moment she held him,” Martin said. “He was no longer my baby, he became her baby.“
Martin said she has not received details on the death of her son.
“I don’t have any answers other than he took his life while he was in custody. I can’t even process that,” she said. “How does a young man go undetected all night?”
CTV News Vancouver Island reached out to BC Corrections about the death and were told details could not be released due to privacy restrictions.
“Any death in custody is a tragedy and our thoughts are with this individual’s family and friends at this time,” said Hope Latham, public affairs officer for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Both the BC Coroners Service and BC Corrections are investigating the death.
Martin is demanding answers and hopes speaking out will stop another parent from going through what she is.
“There needs to be a change within our whole system,” she said.
“There hasn’t been enough change,” said Sayers. “I think this is just another wake-up call for people in Canada to say ‘Yeah, let's change this and let's change this now so no more lives are lost.’”