A coroner’s inquest into the death of a 27-year-old woman whose body was found in Surrey’s Hawthorne Park in May 2016 began Monday and is expected to conclude by early next week.
The inquest is set to hear from about 30 witnesses.
Deanna Renee Desjarlais, originally from Saskatoon, was a member of the Kawacatoose First Nation. She came to B.C. in late 2015.
A Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General press release noted she’d had numerous contacts with the health, justice and social services sectors in the months that followed.
Desjarlais hadn’t been heard from since April 2016 and her family reported her missing the following month. Her body was found in May 2016 but she was not identified until September 2016.
Presiding coroner Brynne Redford and a jury is hearing evidence at the coroners’ court in Burnaby, on the 20th floor of Metrotower II at 4720 Kingsway.
Inquests are held under the Coroners Act to determine if a death could have been prevented and if recommendations can be made to authorities. Coroners’ juries do not make any findings of legal responsibility or assign blame in the cases they hear. As the press release noted, the BC Coroners Service is not a fault-finding agency.