ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A mother in western Newfoundland says she feels shaken and unsafe after two male RCMP officers entered her home uninvited early Sunday morning while she was sleeping and questioned her 11-year-old daughter.
Cortney Pike said the officers walked in through an unlocked basement door to her home in the small community of Mount Moriah, near Corner Brook, N.L. She said she’ll never leave a door unlocked again.
"I feel like we were violated, like we had no rights whatsoever," Pike said in an interview Wednesday. "What gives you the right to just walk into my house?"
Pike said she woke up Sunday around 5:20 a.m. to what she thought were voices and banging coming from outside. The houses on her street in the town of about 750 people are close together, and it's easy to hear when neighbours are up and about, she said.
Pike said she lay in bed and listened, adding that when the noise kept up, she woke up her boyfriend, Andrew Dunphy, and told him there was someone in the house. She said he didn't hear anything and told her to go back to sleep.
But then a man's voice called out, "Hello!" she said.
Dunphy, Pike said, "jumped out of bed so fast." He opened the couple's bedroom door to find two police officers walking down the narrow hallway toward their room. The officers told him they were looking for a missing girl and that the RCMP had been told she was at the house, Pike said.
She said neither she nor Dunphy knew the missing girl and that she told the officers the girl was not in the home. Pike said the two policemen continued to ask questions, demanding to know where the girl was, before giving up and asking if there was somewhere else the girl might be.
Pike said that when the officers left, her 11-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, came up from her bedroom in the basement and said the policemen had been in there. Nevaeh said the officers woke her up by shinning a flashlight in her face and asking questions about the missing girl.
"I was furious," Pike said. "Their first question should have been, 'Where are your parents?'"
On Wednesday, the Newfoundland and Labrador RCMP said they received a report about a missing 17-year-old woman just after 4 a.m. Sunday, and that the complainant said the girl was at Pike's house.
In a statement, Cpl. Jolene Garland said there were concerns for the girl's well-being, "based on information provided" to the RCMP. The two officers entered Pike's house "after a sustained period of knocking, door bell ringing and verbal communication," Garland said.
Pike begged to differ. "We don't even have a doorbell," she said. She said if police had been knocking and hollering, her 70-pound dog, Bear, likely would have started barking. "He is petrified of strangers."
Garland said police are legally allowed to enter someone's home without a warrant if there is a threat to public or individual safety.
Pike said she spoke to a lawyer, who helped her file an official complaint. She said she also visited the local RCMP detachment on Monday to let them know she was angry and wanted answers.
"(They) said, 'Why didn't you tell your daughter that it was just the police?'" Pike said about her conversation at the detachment.
"And I said, 'What do you mean it was just the police?' … It's not going to help her sleep any better knowing it was just the police in her bedroom."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2022.
Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press