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Criminal neglect alleged after B.C. woman with developmental disability dies in care

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More than 15 months after a woman who required 24-hour care was found deceased in a private home, a Port Coquitlam woman and a community care centre have been criminally charged. Grace Ke reports – Jan 29, 2020

A Port Coquitlam woman and a community care centre have been criminally charged after a 54-year-old woman with a “severe developmental disability” died in care.

Coquitlam RCMP said the woman, who had been in care most of her life, and required around the clock care, was found dead in a private home on Oct. 13, 2018.

RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said a police investigation had determined that the victim “did not receive the ‘necessaries of life.'”

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“Necessaries of life refers to those things necessary to preserve life such as food, shelter, medical attention and protection from harm,” said McLauchlin.

“When our officers arrived to this call of a sudden death there was no indication of trauma or abuse. However, there was an indication the victim had not received the care she required,” he added.

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“The official cause of death as determined by the coroner was malnourishment and starvation.”

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Police say the Crown has now approved charges of criminal negligence causing death and failure to perform a legal duty to provide necessaries of life against 51-year-old Astrid Charlotte Dahl.

Police said Dahl was in a residential home-sharing agreement with Kinsight Community Society at the time of the death, and that the organization has also been charged with failure to perform a legal duty to provide necessaries of life.

In a statement, Kinsight said it was “shocked and deeply saddened” to learn of the death, but that it is “confident that all care and safety provisions for those we serve are being met.”

“The health and safety of people served is our top priority, and we take the trust that has been placed in us to provide care and support very seriously,” reads the statement.

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“This is the first time in the 65-year history of our organization that the death of an individual receiving our services has been the subject of a police investigation and criminal charges. Kinsight has cooperated fully with the authorities investigating this death.”

READ MORE: Report into B.C. teen’s in-care death calls for comprehensive youth mental health program

Kinsight is a registered non-profit, which receives public funding from BC Housing, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Fraser Health and the federal government.

The organization’s website says it works in New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra, and provides services including employment and shared living.

Shared living is described as “living in a home with a family or another person who shares their daily life and interests,” a model the organization says encourages personal relationships, connection to the community, and well-being

“Our mission is to promote options and opportunities for people to have meaningful relationships and fulfilling lives,” according to the website.

McLaughlin said the investigation had revealed no indication of other alleged negligence in care on the part of Dahl or Kinshight.

Dahl and Kinsight’s director are due in court on March 9.

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