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First call to police wasn’t for ‘violence in home’, says SIU in probe into woman’s death

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
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is speaking out after Jenna Ostberg, a 21-year-old First Nations woman from Thunder Bay, died after police allegedly failed to respond to a 911 call. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in a release on Jan. 3, 2024, 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 but officers did not respond to the scene – Jan 9, 2024

Ontario’s police watchdog is sharing more information about the events leading up to the death of a woman in Thunder Bay after saying police did not respond to a domestic disturbance call before her death.

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 on Jan. 3 that 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 also notes officers received a second 911 call to “cancel” the first call for service, which led investigators to not respond.

Then, the SIU said 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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While information is still limited as the investigation into her death and the police response continue, the SIU released new details Thursday about 911 calls leading up to Ostberg’s death.

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

After reviewing the police communications recordings, the SIU said it can confirm at this time that the 911 call initially received by the Thunder Bay Police Service was not in relation to violence in the home involving the woman.

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“The caller had contacted police to report that the woman was an unwanted visitor at her home as there were court conditions that she and her son, also present in the home, were not supposed to be around each other,” the SIU said.

The police watchdog said the caller told police they were concerned that her son could be arrested for breach of the conditions and she asked that the police remove the woman from the home.

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They say it was then the same caller who later called a second time to cancel the call for service, reporting that the woman had left the residence.

The SIU said witness interviews are ongoing and the initial results of the autopsy have been received, but the cause of death has not yet been released.

In an interview on Jan. 4 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.

Click to play video: 'Woman dead after Thunder Bay police don’t respond to call: Ontario SIU'
Woman dead after Thunder Bay police don’t respond to call: Ontario SIU

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