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Vancouver police in VanDusen garden for evidence in Poorman death


Police are scouring the 55-acre garden Saturday, and say they have informed Poorman’s family of the search.

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Police are canvassing a 55-acre garden in the heart of Vancouver on Saturday in the case of Chelsea Poorman, whose partial skeletal remains were found on the vacant property of a multimillion-dollar home in the same affluent neighbourhood last month.

The VanDusen Botanical Garden, which was mapped out with a drone as part of the continuing investigation, is about a kilometre from where the 24-year-old’s body was discovered April 22 near Granville Street and West 37th Avenue.

The death of Saskatchewan-born Poorman, an Indigenous woman who was last seen on Granville in fall 2020, wasn’t deemed suspicious by police following the Shaughnessy discovery.

VANCOUVER, B.C. Vancouver police are searching Van Dusen Gardens for evidence related to the Chelsea Poorman case.
VANCOUVER, B.C. Vancouver police are searching Van Dusen Gardens for evidence related to the Chelsea Poorman case. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG
Chelsea Poorman in handout photos from Vancouver police. She went missing in September 2020 and some of her remains were found on the grounds of a Shaughnessy home in April 2022.
Chelsea Poorman in handout photos from Vancouver police. She went missing in September 2020 and some of her remains were found on the grounds of a Shaughnessy home in April 2022. Photo by Submitted

“We are conducting an ongoing investigation,” says Vancouver police spokesman Const. Steve Addison. “We have shared details about today’s efforts with Chelsea’s family­.”

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Her mother, Sheila, said police told her at a rally last weekend that they had plans to search the park with a cadaver dog to find more of her daughter’s remains.

“They want to find the whole part of Chelsea as everybody knows there are pieces of hers missing,” said Lorelei Williams, a friend of the family whom investigators took into a cordoned-off area of the park Saturday.

She said police are using a co-ordinated strategy that involves mapping out locations of suspected coyote dens.

“There are a lot of coyotes in the area, if a coyote took a part of her, they’re going to check … I saw a coyote while I was in there.”

VANCOUVER, B.C. Lorelei Williams speaks to media about the search Saturday by Vancouver police at Van Dusen Gardens for evidence related to the Chelsea Poorman case. Williams is a friend of the Poorman family.
VANCOUVER, B.C. Lorelei Williams speaks to media about the search Saturday by Vancouver police at Van Dusen Gardens for evidence related to the Chelsea Poorman case. Williams is a friend of the Poorman family. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG
VANCOUVER, B.C. Vancouver police are searching Van Dusen Gardens for evidence related to the Chelsea Poorman case.
VANCOUVER, B.C. Vancouver police are searching Van Dusen Gardens for evidence related to the Chelsea Poorman case. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

Older sister Diamond said Poorman’s body was found by a contractor under a blanket on a concrete patio behind the $7 million home, in the clothes she was wearing the night she disappeared.

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The sisters had gone out for dinner on Sept. 6, 2020, at Gastown’s Alibi Room the Sunday night of Labour Day weekend before visiting the downtown Belmont Hotel.

Memorial for Chelsea Poorman at 1536 West 36th Ave in Vancouver, BC., on May 17, 2022. Chelsea Poorman was missing for a year and a half before her body was found in the lot of the vacant Shaughnessy mansion.(NICK PROCAYLO/PNG)
Memorial for Chelsea Poorman at 1536 West 36th Ave in Vancouver, BC., on May 17, 2022. Chelsea Poorman was missing for a year and a half before her body was found in the lot of the vacant Shaughnessy mansion.(NICK PROCAYLO/PNG) Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

“We don’t yet know where Chelsea went immediately after her disappearance or how she ended up at the house in Shaughnessy,” Addison told Postmedia News in an earlier interview.

Poorman with a horse on the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan in about 2018, when she would have been 22 or 23 years old.
Poorman with a horse on the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan in about 2018, when she would have been 22 or 23 years old. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

Though police say there is no evidence of foul play, the cause of Poorman’s death has yet to be confirmed by the B.C. Coroners Service.

Her family members of the Kawacatoose First Nation, located 200 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, believe her death was a murder and have worked tirelessly to bring attention to her disappearance. The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, or UBCIC, and the B.C. First Nations Justice Council both cried foul and have demanded a full investigation into how she died.

— With files from Lori Culbert

sgrochowski@postmedia.com


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