Inquest called into the death of Yunesit’in youth

The life and tragic death of an 18-year-old boy from the Yunesit’in First Nation will be the subject of a coroner’s inquest next month.

The life and tragic death of an 18-year-old boy from the Yunesit’in First Nation will be the subject of a coroner’s inquest next month in Kamloops.

Jacob George Setah had been held in a secure ward at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops for six days in June 2014 when he was able to flee from the ward and make his way to the top of a nearby parking structure.

Kamloops RCMP members were on scene when the teen sustained fatal injuries June 15, said Barb McLintock of the BC Coroners Service.

The fact that Setah was being held against his will under the Mental Health Act at the time of his death and that he was only 18 factored into the need for an inquest, McLintock said.

She added the inquest will be looking into the role of the hospital, examine information from the police on scene and also look into Setah’s history and possibly make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.

She said an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. was conducted prior to the inquest because the death occurred in the presence of police.

Tsilhqot’in National Chief Joe Alphonse said it is critical that mental health issues be taken seriously and he hopes findings from the inquiry will serve to help others.

“It’s very unfortunate a life was lost,” Alphonse said Tuesday.

“But (conducting the inquest) is a way to honour him and ensure anyone else living with these challenges will get the help they need.”

McLintock said the inquest will begin April 11 at the Kamloops Courthouse and is expected to last five days.