Police took 60 hours to begin investigation into Regina woman’s death

Police wait 60 hours to look into woman's death

REGINA — The family of a Regina woman found fatally injured at the bottom of a hotel laundry chute is questioning how she fit through the chute door and why it took 60 hours for police to launch an investigation.

Nadine Machiskinic was found at the bottom of the chute at the Delta Hotel in January 2015 and later died in hospital.

An inquest into her death started Monday with police photos and testimony describing the chute opening as 53 centimetres wide.

“The dimensions of the laundry chute — I’m not an expert but that looked like a pretty small laundry chute to start with. I’m just wondering how somebody could fit in that small, little laundry chute, manoeuvre their way … how does somebody get into that little small space?” Machiskinic’s aunt, Delores Stevenson, outside the inquest Monday.

“I hope that we’ll get some truth, I hope that we’ll get some answers.”

An autopsy report released last year said Machiskinic died of blunt force trauma to the head, neck and trunk consistent with a fall. She fell from the 10th floor of the hotel in the laundry chute.

Tests also showed she had drugs in her system. The inquest heard that two prescription pill bottles were found near her body.

The coroner ruled her death accidental, saying there was no evidence of foul play and no evidence of suicidal intent.

But Machiskinic’s family has raised concerns that police were not taking her death seriously.

Const. Keith Malcolm told the inquest that police made an error when they delayed sending toxicology samples for testing for several months. Malcolm thought another officer in the forensics unit had sent the samples for testing and the other officer thought Malcolm had done it.

“Nobody’s proud of their mistakes and this is why toxicology wasn’t sent. It was human error,” he said.

Malcolm says police have since changed procedures to avoid such mistakes in the future.

The inquest also heard that there was only one guest on the 10th floor on the night Machiskinic died and none of her DNA was found in that room.

The guest told police that a woman was banging on his door and he called security. It’s believed the same woman also pulled a fire alarm right next to the laundry room door on the 10th floor.

There were seven cameras in the hotel, but none in the hallways or elevators.

Police believe one camera from the hotel lobby shows Machiskinic getting onto an elevator after two men had already gotten on. Police have never been able to identify or interview them.

Staff Sgt. Kelly Trithart, who was one of the lead investigators with the major crimes unit at the time, said he was called after a pathologist found rib fractures, bruising on Machiskinic’s arms and back, and blood on her nose.

“At that point, right there, we’re thinking there’s something to this,” said Trithart.

It did not appear that hotel staff believed Machiskinic had fallen.

Hotel security called 911 after cleaning staff found Machiskinic’s body in the basement laundry room. They said she appeared intoxicated and passed out.

On the 911 recording played at the inquest, someone from security could be overheard saying: “If she fell down the chute, she’d be dead.”

Hotel security also told Trithart that the door to the laundry room in the basement was unlocked because staff were doing laundry at night. They said the door to the 10th floor laundry room with the chute was always locked.

But Trithart said he discovered that the latch on the laundry room door on the 10th floor didn’t catch, even with repeated attempts, so it was open.

Trithart said the frustrating part of the investigation was the fact that police weren’t called until 60 hours after the body was found and that made it nearly impossible to collect credible evidence.

“It was a major challenge,” he said.

The inquest is scheduled to last all week.

Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Language course helps to revitalize Okanagan First Nation language

“Learning a Language: nsyilxcən for Everyone” course kicks off in Kelowna on Feb. 4

Peachland looks to hire climate action coordinator

Coordinator would help city reach its carbon reduction goals

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Pedestrian struck in front of West Kelowna Walmart

Paramedics and emergency crews responded to the call around 1:30 p.m. Friday

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Avalanche danger closes Highway 1 near Chase

The highway is closed in both directions east of Chase

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Melted snow uncovers problematic potholes in Vernon

Temperature swings, precipitation behind cracked pavement, city says

Alumni trumpet band strikes emotional chord for Vernon girls

Vernon Girls Trumpet Band will be tooting their horn for the 60th Winter Carnival parade

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read