Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Update: SIU investigating after a body was recovered from the Sydenham River in Wallaceburg

The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 29-year-old man in Wallaceburg.

SIU officials allege at approximately 6:15 p.m. on April 6, 2021, Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS) officers responded to the area of Wallace Street and McDougal Street for a report of suspicious persons.

“When the officers arrived, a man and woman fled on foot,” SIU officials allege.

“The man then proceeded to enter the Sydenham River. Officers and civilians also entered the waters in an attempt to aid the man, but they were unable to locate him.”

SIU officials added: “At approximately 10:40 a.m. today A9April 7, 2021), members of the CKPS Marine Unit and the Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services (CKFES) Dive Team located the man’s body.”

Two investigators and one forensic investigator have been assigned to the case, SIU officials say.

The post-mortem is scheduled for Thursday in London.

“The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about this investigation to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529,” SIU officials said in a press release.

“The Unit is also urging anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website.”

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials, police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians.

Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must:

– Consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation.

– Depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid.

– Publicly report the results of its investigations.

In a press release issued on Wednesday morning, Chatham-Kent Police Service officials said that shortly after 6 p.m. last night, police responded to the report of two suspicious people on Wallace Street in Wallaceburg.

“Upon police arrival, the man and woman fled on foot and jumped into the Sydenham River,” Chatham-Kent Police Service officials allege.

“The woman was able to swim to safety, however the man disappeared. Officers entered the water but were unable to locate the man. Police deployed the drone and requested assistance from the Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services dive team.”

Chatham-Kent Police Service officials added: “We would like to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone involved in this tragic incident.”

In an email sent on Wednesday shortly after 5 p.m., Chatham-Kent Police Service officials directed the media to the SIU press release.

A “witness assistance” form on the SIU website about the incident can be filled out, here.

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