Questions surround death of 18-year-old woman in police custody
The family of a young Port Alberni mother who died in hospital after spending the night in jail is raising questions about in-custody care.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed yesterday that 18-year-old Jocelyn George was taken into custody last Thursday and found to be in need of medical attention Friday morning.
Paramedics rushed her to hospital in Port Alberni, where she was then airlifted to Victoria. She died in hospital Friday night.
The circumstances of her death remain a mystery as the coroners service and B.C.’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, probe the incident.
“Our main concern right now is to find out what happened in that time when she was arrested, up to the time the ambulance picked her up at the police station,” George’s cousin Lee Lucas told CTV News.
He said she was struggling with problems related to drugs and alcohol, and suggested that wasn’t taken into consideration after she was arrested.
“I think that’s part of what needs to be looked into,” Lucas said. “You know these people have these addictions and the cops are aware, and that is the family’s main concern. Why was she placed in cells? Was there a better place for her?”
She leaves behind two children: Matthew, a toddler, and Siahna, who hasn’t yet reached her first birthday.
"It's a major impact. We're a very close family...she's had a different relationship and special relationship with every one of us at one point or another," Lucas said.
George wasn’t close with Lucas toward the last few years of her life, but he said she was a “very sweet” young girl and loved her family.
“She was always willing to help, she was always there any time family needed her,” he said.
The investigation into her death is ongoing and no further details have been released.