Outside experts are going to take a fresh look at the autopsy evidence in the death of Myles Gray.
The 33-year-old Sechelt man died Aug. 13, 2015 in an incident with Vancouver police while making deliveries for his landscape business near South East Marine Drive and Joffre Avenue in Vancouver.
The case has been under investigation by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), but so far the civilian agency has not determined if any of the officers involved should face criminal charges.
The IIO went to court late last year to get one of the officers, who they believe is a key witness, Const. Hardeep Sahota, to cooperate with investigators.
A statement of background facts presented as part of the IIO petition outlined a list of serious injuries suffered by Gray, but it also said the coroner had not determined a specific cause of death.
Myles Gray’s mother, Margie, told Coast Reporter this week that the family has been trying to get the BC Coroners Service to agree to allow “a second set of eyes” to look at the evidence.
“I’m happy that they’ve taken this step,” Gray said. “I wasn’t happy with an inconclusive autopsy.”
IIO head Ron MacDonald said the Coroners Service is aiding the agency with “additional forensic pathology resources, which are going to be utilized to aid in the examination of the facts of the case,” but he could not say how long it will take before the new report is available to his investigators.
“The investigation will have to await the conclusion of that work, so I really can’t say how long that will take… We certainly are moving towards the end of the file.”
The BC Coroners Service has also confirmed the review of forensic evidence.
“The BC Coroners Service is working to identify additional forensic pathology resources to aid in the investigation... We will share information with the IIO and family as it becomes available,” Coroners Service spokesman Andy Watson said via email.
Gray also credited Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons for his help in getting the ear of officials in Victoria.
“The Ministry of the Attorney General has heard about the concern in our community over the length of time it’s taken for answers in this case,” Simons said. “All the parties involved recognize that our community needs answers and this is a positive step.”
MacDonald said, “I want the public to know that although this has taken some time, it has been given a great deal of attention by the IIO and we are working very hard to ensure that every avenue possible is exhausted prior to reaching a conclusion at the end of the day.”
The Gray family has used earlier anniversaries of Myles’ death to raise awareness, including displaying a large “Justice for Myles Gray” banner, but this year they did something different.
Gray’s family and some close friends marked the anniversary by taking a trip to one of Myles’ favourite wilderness areas, the Taylor Basin, near Gold Bridge in the Interior.
“I’m not going to spend it holding a banner,” Gray said she told herself this year. “I needed to do something more soulful.”