Coroner’s inquest into woman’s death in police cells concludes

After three-day court inquiry into death of Alyssa Josephine Talia George, jury returns 16 recommendations.

  • Oct. 22, 2015 7:00 a.m.

Nearly six hours after the three-day coroners inquest into the death of Alyssa Josephine Talia George, also known as Alyssa Oleksiuk, concluded Oct. 21, the jury returned with 16 recommendations to help prevent a similar death in the future.

George, 25, had been arrested on outstanding warrants Sept. 3, 2013 after police responded to a call about a civil dispute between a landlord and tenant on Kalum St., according to a Terrace RCMP report issued the next day.

About 14 hours after the arrest, she was found in medical distress in cells at the Terrace RCMP detachment.

She was then taken to Mills Memorial Hospital and later flown to Vancouver General Hospital for more treatment, but died Sept.10, 2013.

Presiding coroner Donita Kuzma and a jury heard evidence from more than 15 witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death.

The five-person jury had the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances – the jury’s role was not to find fault.

The jury foreman noted George’s immediate cause of death was multiple organ and system failures due to metabolic acidosis and respiratory depression as a consequence of acute and prolonged ethanol and substance abuse, and her death was classified as natural.

The 16 recommendations will be forwarded to the chief coroner who will send them out to the specific organization named in each recommendation.

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