The province’s police watchdog has closed its investigation into the actions of provincial police in relation to the death of Brandon Marchant at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.
At least two separate investigations related to Marchant’s death are still ongoing: an internal investigation conducted by the Ministry of the Solicitor General and a Regional Coroner’s Office investigation assisted by the London Police Service.
The Special Investigations Unit says a man OPP arrested on July 1 was admitted to hospital that same day, but was released on July 2 into the custody of EMDC staff. The following morning, he was found without vital signs in his cell and taken to hospital where he died July 6.
The SIU adds that the cause of death is not yet known but says there is no evidence that OPP caused the man’s death.
According to the SIU, OPP and other first responders were called to a “violent single-vehicle motor crash at the Woodstock OnRoute” off Highway 401 near Ingersoll, Ont., on July 1.
At the time, OPP reported that a vehicle had left the roadway and hit a telephone pole.
Police say two passengers were ejected from the vehicle and taken to hospital, one by air ambulance with serious injuries, while the injured driver “fled the area on foot and was located nearby a short time later.” He was identified by OPP as Brandon Marchant, 32, of London.
OPP contacted the SIU after the suspect was admitted to hospital. As the SIU reported, he was later released into the custody of EMDC staff but re-admitted to hospital after being found without vital signs in his cell.
On July 7, the ministry of the solicitor general reported that a London man had died in hospital the day before after he was found unresponsive in his cell at EMDC. The ministry added that it would be conducting an internal investigation to ensure its policies and procedures were followed “with respect to the care and custody of the deceased.”
Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the ministry, told Global News at the time that if the coroner determines the death was the result of anything other than natural causes then an inquest would be called. If it was the result of natural causes, there could still be an inquest but it would be at the discretion of the coroner.
Roughly a week and a half after Marchant’s death, thousands gathered at EMDC to demand justice. Marchant was the 19th inmate to die at EMDC since 2009.
The SIU is an arms-length agency that investigates reports of death, injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm involving police in Ontario.
— with files from Global News’ Sawyer Bogdan and Kelly Wang.