An investigation is underway into the death of a Tla-o-qui-aht man who was found deceased Boxing Day morning in Nanaimo.
Leonard Martin, 59, was last seen in the evening on Christmas Day, before his body was discovered at approximately 5:45 a.m. Dec. 26 on Fitzwilliam Street, near Wallace. The RCMP’s serious crime unit is investigating.
Leonard’s younger brother, Bruce Martin, said that he lived in a tent on Fitzwilliam Street by the Occidental bar.
“When he was in his camp there was some yelling and shouting,” said Bruce. “I think something may have happened that shouldn’t have.”
Police have asked anyone with information related to Leonard’s passing or an altercation in the area to come forward. Bruce recalled that his brother had many social connections.
“He was always really friendly with people and knew a lot of people. They just seemed to be attached to him because of his way of life,” said Bruce. “He just had a kindness that was acceptable to a lot of people.”
The younger brother recalls spending part of his childhood with Leonard when they lived at Kakawis on Meares Island, the former site of the Christie Indian Residential School.
“We used to run the trail to catch the school boat from Opitsaht to Tofino,” Bruce remembered, adding that Leonard was eventually sent to Port Alberni to live with a foster family.
“He was a really good fisherman and enjoyed being on the sea when he was younger, but since he got back to Nanaimo, that’s when he ended up being on the street,” added Bruce. “That’s where he chose to be. He was more comfortable there than he would be at a house.”
“He was careful about where he went and what he did,” he said. “I think he knew what he needed to do.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.