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Ontario woman found dead after police allegedly don’t respond to 911 call

Click to play video: 'Native Women’s Association of Canada calls out lack of police response in death of Ontario woman'
Native Women’s Association of Canada calls out lack of police response in death of Ontario woman
WATCH: Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is looking into the death of a 21-year-old woman at a home in Thunder Bay. The SIU says the police did not respond to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance – Jan 9, 2024

Ontario’s police watchdog says it is looking into the death of a young woman at a home in Thunder Bay after it says police did not respond to a domestic disturbance call.

The victim’s family identified her to Global News as Jenna Ostberg, a 21-year-old First Nations woman.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in a release Wednesday that Thunder Bay police received a 911 call about a domestic disturbance at a home on Ray Boulevard around 2 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2023.

The SIU says officers did not respond to the scene.

The watchdog also notes officers received a second 911 call to “cancel” the first call for service, which led investigators to not respond.

Then the SIU says a third 911 call was made from the residence to indicate the woman was found dead inside. Thunder Bay police officers responded and that’s when they found the woman.

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Two investigators and one forensic investigator have been assigned to the case, as well as one subject official, the SIU says.

Jenna Ostberg is seen in a photo uploaded to her Facebook page, which was confirmed by her family. The 21-year-old was found dead in a home in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Dec. 30, 2023. Facebook

In an interview Thursday with Global News, Ostberg’s parents Vincent Ostberg and Melanie Beardy say police told them their daughter died “with plastic around her neck” and they believed it was suicide.

“That’s not for them to say,” Beardy said, as they await results of an autopsy.

“We have no comment on the SIU investigation or Thunder Bay Police investigation,” says Vincent Ostberg, the woman’s father. “We’ve had to start our own investigation.”

Global News has reached out to the Thunder Bay Police Service for comment and has not heard back. The police service has yet to publicly comment on the case.

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Jenna Ostberg is seen in a photo uploaded to her Facebook page, which was confirmed by her family. The 21-year-old was found dead in a home in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Dec. 30, 2023. Facebook

Vincent Ostberg says the family is receiving supports from First Nations organizations in the region including Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Windigo First Nations Council and Bearskin Lake First Nation, as they navigate their daughter’s death and the ensuing investigation into the handling of the 911 calls and the police investigation.

The family tells Global News they’ll be patient as the process runs its course.

“What needs to be made clear is there has to be an end to institutional racism,” Vincent said.

In a social media post Thursday he was critical of the “lack of police response and sensitivity” involving Indigenous women and girls.

Like many young women her age, Ostberg’s parents say the 21-year-old was into styling different looks on various social media platforms.

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“She was very influential,” says her father. “Lots of girls looked up to her style.”

A shrine to Jenna Ostberg, who was found dead in a home in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Dec. 30, 2023, is seen in her mother Melanie Beardy’s home. Photo courtesy of Melanie Beardy/Supplied to Global News

Her mom says Ostberg graduated high school at 17 then took a year off before attending the college access program at Confederation College, which she completed with a bursary for future studies.

“She was a very good girl,” Beardy said. She noted that she had a boyfriend.

The woman’s father describes her as artistic – enjoying painting, singing in Cree and square dancing.

They’re awaiting their loved one’s remains to be returned from the Ontario coroner and planning funeral services for next week.

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