Siasi Tullaugak – “a violent death”, not suicide
A 2019 coroner’s report on the death of a 27-year-old Inuit woman determined “This is a violent death”, not suicide as initially ruled by the Montreal Police, the SPVM.
Siasi Tullaugak was found hanging from the small balcony of a Chomedey Street apartment on August 29, 2017. Within 24 hours, another Inuit woman, Sharon Baron’s body was found hanged in a closet inside her apartment in Dorval. In both cases the Montreal police considered the deaths of the two Inuit women as suicides. People who knew the two women said they suspected foul play, but when they tried to communicate this to the police their information was brushed aside.
In the case of Baron, the Quebec coroner eventually ruled her death a suicide. In a March 2018 report, Dr. Louis Normandin wrote that Sharon Baron hung herself with a computer power cable, concluding that she died of compression asphyxiation of the neck structures following the hanging, finally determining, “It is a suicide.”
Tullaugak’s coroner’s report was filed over 14 months later, even though both victims died within 24 hours of each other. In May 2019 coroner Karine Spenard wrote, “Siasi Ikidluak Tullaugak died of suffocation by hanging”, then concluded “This is a violent death.” The report goes on to say that it is not the role of the coroner to pronounce the civil or criminal person responsible in such matters, and, as this is “still an open file at the SPVM”, the analysis of the event remains open.
In 2017, the Montreal police’s Aboriginal liaison officer, Carlo De Angelis insisted police had thoroughly investigated the cases, “… investigators have done the legwork on this. They’ve looked at all the information that was gathered.”
Both Tullaugak and Baron were known to frequent the Cabot Square district on the edge of Montreal’s west end. The park is well known for drugs and sex trafficking. On March 26, 2019, another Inuit woman, Donna Pare was reported missing. Pare was known to frequent Place Emilie Gamelin, another area known for drugs and prostitution. She has not been seen since December 2018.
The SPVM’s media relations division declined to comment on the matter, instructing that all questions be put to the police force through an access to information request.