Vigil held for Chelsea Poorman as family, advocates seek answers about her death

·2 min read
 A vigil took place Sunday to honour Chelsea Poorman outside the Vancouver home where her remains were found. (CBC - image credit)
A vigil took place Sunday to honour Chelsea Poorman outside the Vancouver home where her remains were found. (CBC - image credit)

Family and community members gathered in Vancouver on Sunday to honour Chelsea Poorman, a young Indigenous woman whose body was discovered at a home in Vancouver's Shaughnessy neighbourhood.

Advocates for the Indigenous community said a prayer for Poorman and asked questions about her death.

Poorman, 24, was reported missing nearly two years ago and her body was discovered last month by contractors working on a vacant home near Granville Street and West 37th Avenue.

Investigators do not believe her death was suspicious. A Vancouver police spokesperson told reporters that because the remains were essentially skeletal, it's unlikely the cause of death will ever be determined.

Mother Sheila Poorman says her family wants to know what happened to her daughter.

"My daughters and I want answers but right now we are going to focus on taking what's left of her home and giving her a proper burial and then we''ll come back and we'll do what needs to be done for Chelsea," she said.

"We are going to fight for Chelsea. We are going to fight for the truth to what happened to her because we are not going to sit by and let them say that it is not suspicious."

Submitted by Sheila Poorman
Submitted by Sheila Poorman

Poorman was reported missing on Sept. 8, 2020. She was last seen by her sister two days earlier, after dinner and drinks on Granville Street downtown.

Contractors working on a house discovered her remains on April 22. A coroner's investigation determined that Poorman likely died on the property where she was found on the night she disappeared or shortly after, but her remains went unnoticed because the house had been vacant for so long.

Investigators don't know how or why she ended up at the home.

Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam woman and activist, said the grief Poorman's family is experiencing and the pain that comes from questions going unanswered are all too familiar to Indigenous communities.

She said systems need to be in place to better support young Indigenous women.

"I'm going to be 49 in June. This has been happening my whole life," she said. "A half a century isn't enough time to stop it? How many more lifetimes are we going to go forward with this? How many more Chelseas?"

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