A police officer is facing a misconduct investigation in connection with the discovery of three bodies, including that of an Indigenous teenager, in a Vancouver apartment earlier this year.
The officer, whose name was not released, will be investigated for alleged neglect of duty under the Police Act.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) said Thursday the accusation is linked to the officer's conduct when it came to attending the Strathcona apartment where three people were ultimately found dead.
Noelle (Elli) O'Soup, 14, was one of two people whose remains were found in the apartment at the corner of Heatley Avenue and East Hastings Street on May 1.
A third body, that of a man in his early 40s, had been discovered in the same unit on Feb. 23.
The OPCC did not give further details on the nature of the misconduct allegation, but under the Police Act, neglect of duty can happen several ways: an officer fails to perform their duties, fails to work with others, leaves an area without permission, or fails to show up for duty — on time or at all — without good reason.
Noelle missing for 12 months
Noelle, a member of Key First Nation in Saskatchewan, had been reported missing from her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., more than a year before her remains were found.
RCMP, which has jurisdicton in Port Coquitlam, said they actively searched for her and followed up on every tip received. The Mounties said they are now assisting the Vancouver Police Department's major crimes section — which includes the homicide unit, robbery, assault and arson unit and missing persons unit — as it investigates Noelle's death.
On Thursday, the OPCC said it launched its code of conduct investigation after a request from the VPD on May 18. The OPCC said its investigation has now been suspended until the criminal probe is over, to avoid "prejudicing" the case.
"At the conclusion of the criminal investigation and any resulting proceedings, the Police Act investigation will be re-initiated," read a statement from the OPCC.
The VPD said it was not known that Noelle was one of the two people whose bodies were found in early May until the coroner identified the remains in June.
The coroners' service has not provided any further details on any of the three deaths, citing the ongoing investigations.