An RCMP review into the fatal overdose of a woman who had been reportedly living at the home of a former top official with the City of Brandon has found local police conducted an appropriate and professional investigation into the woman’s death.
Christine Mitchell, 30, overdosed in July 2019 on a mixture of heroin and other opioids while she had been staying at the home of Rod Sage for almost five years.
Sage formerly served as Brandon’s chief administrative officer and was also a non-voting member of the Brandon police board before leaving the job February 2020.
In October 2019 former Manitoba justice minister Cliff Cullen called on the RCMP look at both the circumstances surrounding Mitchell’s death and the investigation into the case by Brandon city police.
At the time Cullen said he called in the RCMP because the case involved a city official and police board member.
On Thursday current Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said the RCMP’s review is finished and found nothing wrong with the Brandon Police Service’s investigation.
“Brandon Police Service conducted an appropriate and professional investigation in relation to Mitchell’s death,” said Friesen in a government release.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the family on their loss.”
The review did, however, find concerns with the timeliness of reporting the overdose death to police and the Office of the Medical Examiner. Friesen said the gap in reporting was due to a misinterpretation of the Fatality Inquiries Act by the Brandon Regional Health Service.
He said the Office of the Medical Examiner and Prairie Mountain Health have reviewed the requirements under the act and the Brandon Regional Health Centre “has updated its policies to reflect these requirements.”
Sage has previously said he met Mitchell when she was struggling with addiction and mental health issues, and he offered her a place to stay.
At the time the review was ordered Sage said his job with the city had nothing to do with how Brandon police investigated the case.
–With files from The Canadian Press