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Suspect in Labrador criminal negligence causing death case released on conditions


HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. — A 26-year-old Natuashish woman charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life has been released on conditions.

Mounties arrested Kitora Tshakapesh in Happy Valley-Goose Bay following a lengthy investigation into the death of a 17-year-old girl on Oct. 13, 2017 in the community of Natuashish, on the north coast of Labrador.

Tshakapesh appeared before a judge at Happy Valley-Goose Bay Provincial Court May 17.

In addition to the statutory conditions of keeping the peace and appearing for future court dates, she must live at an approved residence in Sheshatshiu, not possess or consume alcohol or drugs, and refrain from communicating with a number of named persons.

Prosecutor Jennifer Standen said the Crown did not oppose Tshakapesh’s release for a number of reasons, including Gladue factors — socioeconomic issues the courts must consider when dealing with Indigenous persons. Standen declined to comment on the circumstances of the case as she was awaiting the full disclosure package from the RCMP, which she expected by the end of the day, today, May 18.

Insp. Bruce Singer, officer in charge of the RCMP major crime unit in Corner Brook, was responsible for the operation. He said it was an extremely in-depth investigation, involving more than 20 officers, dozens of interviews and processing of numerous pieces of physical evidence.

“We pulled out all the stops and brought in investigators from both major crimes west and east, as well as federal resources,” he said, also noting Natuashish was very accommodating.

“We had, I would say, resounding cooperation from the community.”

The actual cause of the girl’s death is not being released at this time.

Tshakapesh’s next court appearance for an election and/or plea is scheduled for June 4 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

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