RCMP are investigating the sudden deaths of two girls who were found in a hotel room in central Alberta.
Alberta RCMP media relations Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said EMS found the girls Sunday morning at the Best Western hotel in Sylvan Lake, a resort town about 15 kilometres west of Red Deer.
Savinkoff said there was a male parent nearby, but wouldn’t provide further details, adding the children’s next of kin were notified.
He said the medical examiner is working to determine the cause of death, including the results of toxicology tests.
Savinkoff said there is no indication of potential homicide or suicide, but an overdose is a possibility that has not been confirmed.
On Wednesday, RCMP reiterated the deaths are believed to be non-criminal in nature and no cause of death will be made public.
Vanessa Pahel-Scott recently landed a job in Sylvan Lake, so she’s been staying at the hotel while in the middle of moving.
She came here from the U.S. eight years ago when she married a Canadian, and said hearing about such a tragic loss in a small community is unexpected.
“I’m actually an American immigrant, so I’m probably a little anaesthetised to a lot of things like this. So hearing about something like this happening up here is a little surprising,” Pahel-Scott said.
Joe Wareham lives in Red Deer but said he goes to Sylvan Lake all the time to walk his dog. He said sadly, tragedy can strike anywhere.
“There’s no safe lock on any town, any city, any rural… You got to be vigilant with your young kids for a lot of things. Technology, people that they know, people they’re talking to, people they hang with,” Wareham said.
He said he’s a parent of three himself and feels for the families of the two girls.
“I’m sad to hear that two young lives lost won’t get a chance to grow up and see what could have been.”
Sylvan Lake Mayor Megan Hanson said she couldn’t comment because of the RCMP investigation, but expressed sadness.
“On behalf of the Town of Sylvan Lake and my colleagues on council I would like to extend our condolences to all those affected by the recent loss in our community,” she said in a statement to Global News.
“We are saddened by the news and our thoughts are with the families at this time.”
Alberta Health Services couldn’t comment on the EMS response, but said it was a tragic incident, and its deepest sympathies were with the families, loved ones and friends impacted by the losses.
“AHS has put additional resources in place to support those impacted, including opening up additional walk-in sessions with counselors to provide immediate supports. As there is a police investigation underway at this time, we will not be providing further comment,” AHS said.
— With files from The Canadian Press