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Home News P.A. police apologize for releasing info about Taya Sinclair homicide before alerting family

P.A. police apologize for releasing info about Taya Sinclair homicide before alerting family

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P.A. police apologize for releasing info about Taya Sinclair homicide before alerting family
Donna Aubichon (left) wipes away a tear before speaking to media about her niece Taya Sinclair, a Saskatoon mom and daughter, who was initially reported missing and whose body was found in Prince Albert. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask. on Friday, March 18, 2022. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix / Michelle Berg)

Thia James

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Taya Sinclair’s aunties gathered in Saskatoon on Friday to speak publicly about their vibrant niece, who was also a daughter and the mother of two young children, and was taken far too soon.

Sinclair, 24, was reported missing to Saskatoon police on Monday and found dead in Prince Albert on Tuesday. Prince Albert police are investigating her death as a homicide.

“Taya was tragically taken from us in a way that no human should ever be treated. Our family would like to share with everyone that nobody, despite their gender or their race, deserves to be treated the way our girl was treated,” aunt Donna Aubichon told reporters.

She asked anyone with information to contact the family or police, and called on everyone to read the Calls to Justice made in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Aubichon described her niece’s free spirit and loving nature, saying she wants the world to remember her smile. The family brought several framed photos taken throughout her life.

“Taya had a family. She mattered so much to us,” Aubichon said, adding that her niece was loved, wanted and cared for.

Saskatoon police have said Sinclair’s missing person file was with its patrol unit and a media release “had not yet been sent out” when her body was found.

The family wishes “it was taken a bit more seriously and that’s where the media should have stepped in at that time and addressed it and put it out,” Aubichon said.

“In Taya’s situation, every second counted. Every second counted in finding her.”

In an emailed statement, Saskatoon police said they began to investigate as soon as she was reported missing.

“Unfortunately there was a very short period of time between when the report was made, to when human remains were discovered in Prince Albert,” the statement said.

Earlier on Friday, Prince Albert city police apologized for publicly releasing sensitive information about Sinclair’s death before sharing those details with her family.

Although investigators and victim services were with the family at the time their news release was issued, “all details of her death had not yet been shared with Taya’s family before they were released publicly,” police said in an email.

The information in question included the fact that she was the victim of a homicide and that her body was found burned.

“Due to the sensitive nature of this information and the extreme trauma Taya’s family is suffering at this very difficult time, the public release of these details resulted in surprise and added anguish for her family,” police said in the statement.

“For that, we are immensely sorry. Our error has left Taya’s family with more questions and pain, and this is unacceptable.”

Prince Albert police said in a previous media release that officers and firefighters responded to a report about a body discovered at the snow dump south of the Alfred Jenkins Field House. An autopsy confirmed her identity.

Metis Nation-Saskatchewan Women and Gender Equity Minister Loretta King said the organization was pleased to see the apology.

“As a community, a province and a country, we need to recognize violence against our women still continues, that events like Taya’s (death) still happen and happen disproportionately to Metis, First Nations and Inuit women.”

tjames@postmedia.com