RCMP, coroner investigating child’s sudden death in Port Alberni

Eric Plummer, March 14, 2018

Many in the Port Alberni community are grieving the sudden passing of a six-year-old boy on Tuesday. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Port Alberni — 

Tragedy struck a Port Alberni family on Tuesday, March 13 with the sudden passing of six-year-old boy.

The B.C. Coroners Service is “in the very early stages of investigating” the death as it supports the RCMP, according to a spokesperson for the provincial service.

“On March 13 at approximately 9:30 a.m. the Port Alberni RCMP attended a local residence after receiving a report of a child in medical distress,” said Cpl. Amelia Hayden in a statement sent to the Ha-Shilth-Sa. “The child was transported to hospital and tragically, did not survive.”

“This is an ongoing investigation, no further information will be released,” added the Port Alberni police officer.

The boy was Nuu-chah-nulth, and on Wednesday, March 14 a statement was issued by Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers and Vice-President Andy Callicum.

“We are deeply saddened with the sudden passing of a young Nuu-chah-nulth child, who had family connections in both the Ahousaht and Hesquiaht communities,” said Sayers and Callicum. “We extend our deepest condolences to the parents, family and community at this difficult time. We are told that the young boy had a big, beautiful smile, and that he touched many lives and his loss is felt by many.”

The boy attended Haahuupayak Elementary School on the nearby Tseshaht First Nation’s reserve. On March 13 the school sent a notice to parents announcing that classes would be closed for the rest of the week “out of respect for the family who has lost a loved one.” Classes are not scheduled the next week for the March break.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and community members during this difficult time,” added Sayers and Callicum in their statement. “We are aware that the family has been inundated with requests for information by the media and members of the public. We ask that everyone respect the family’s need for privacy as they deal with the loss of their loved one.”