Police have ruled out homicide in the death of Leonard Williams, a Tla-o-qui-aht member whose body was found in downtown Nanaimo on Dec. 26 near the tent where he lived.
Early in the morning of Dec. 26 the 59-year-old’s body was found on Fitzwilliam Street, near Wallace in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. Indications of a disturbance in the area were reported from the preceding night, but police have not linked these noises to Williams’ death.
“A forensic autopsy was completed on Dec. 31, 2020 and foul play has been ruled out as a cause of death,” stated the Nanaimo RCMP in a press release issued Jan. 4. “In the course of the investigation, police also followed up reports that loud noises were heard at approximately 11 pm on Dec. 25th, in the vicinity of where the deceased was located. Investigators are confident and have concluded that these reports were not connected to his death.”
The 59-year-old’s older brother finds it unlikely that any ill intent would be directed towards Williams.
“Leonard didn’t have any enemies, as far as I know,” said Bruce Martin. “Anybody that had any animosity towards him, he talked them out of it. It’s just the kind of person he was.”
After a childhood on Meares Island and years of residing with a foster family in Port Alberni, Williams lived on the streets of Nanaimo for approximately 30 years. He most recently took shelter in a tent across the street from the Occidental bar on Fitzwilliam Street.
“If he was invited to live with somebody he would deny,” commented Martin. “We had the pleasure of having him stay with us for a while. I enjoyed the time with him.”
Williams’ older brother reflects that he would have been a good leader.
“He was really positive, he showed us all something,” said Martin. “Regardless of where he was, he would make time for anybody.”
Through online, virtual means, close family and friends plan to share a dinner in Williams’ honour on Wednesday. A prayer and song will be performed by Levi Martin.
“I just want to remember him the way he was,” added Bruce Martin. “He was kind and gentle all the time, and he was always grateful for family and friends.”