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Inquest to begin Monday into three EMDC deaths
LONDON, ONT. -- Family members of three men who died at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC) hope for answers as a joint inquest begins Monday.
The inquest, held at Stoneridge Inn and Conference Centre, will probe the events surrounding the deaths of Floyd Deleary, 39, Justin Thompson, 27, and Murray James Davis, 24.
Family members of the deceased are hoping to learn more details about how their loved ones died, and have recommendations put forth to try to prevent others inside the London jail from suffering the same fate.
"We really want answers," says Liz Thompson, whose stepson Justin Thompson died on Oct. 31, 2016. "What happened? Why did it happen? How did it happen?"
The autopsies all showed elevated levels of fentanyl, leaving relatives to wonder how the drugs got inside EMDC.
Lawyer Kevin Egan represents all three families and has been part of these inquests before.
"Over the years I've been somewhat pessimistic because I’ve seen recommendations time and time again, and nothing being acted on," says Egan. "Hope springs eternal and I’m still optimistic that some change can be affected and families won't continue to suffer."
In 2013, a change was made as the result of a 2011 inquest into the death of Randy Drysdale.
"There was a recommendation that video cameras be installed," says Egan. "They were installed in 2013, but the other part was they be monitored in real time, so they could see something and intervene. To this day, the ministry doesn't monitor them in real time."
The families of Deleary, Davis and Thompson have put forward ideas as to how to make the facility safer for those inside EMDC.
Fifteen inmates have died at the jail since 2009.
"I'd like to see that everyone is monitored going through that facility," says Thompson. "I would personally like to see that anyone going through is held back from going into general population, to make sure drugs aren't getting in that way. They also need an overhaul to the whole system, especially when it comes to drug rehabilitation."
Dr. David Eden will preside as the inquest coroner, while Vanessa Decker and Julian Roy will act as counsel to the coroner.
The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths.