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How Did A Regina Mom Fall 10 Storeys Down A Laundry Chute To Her Death?

09/22/2015 12:10 EDT | Updated 09/22/2016 05:12 EDT
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Early in the new year, the Regina Police Service issued a brief news release indicating a 29-year-old woman had been found injured in a downtown hotel and died a couple of hours later.

Nine months later, Regina police remain silent on the matter.

However, CBC's iTeam has learned her name was Nadine Machiskinic, a mother of four who worked in the sex trade and struggled with addictions.

Her family says police told them privately the young woman died violently, plunging 10 storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel.

Last week, the iTeam asked police for an interview about the family's claims and the status of the investigation.

They declined an interview, but in a statement said, "The investigation into the death of Nadine Machiskinic has revealed no indication of foul play."

The statement goes on to say "this is still an open investigation, so neither [Regina police nor the chief coroner] are prepared to speculate."

Machiskinic's family say her death isn't being taken seriously

Machiskinic's aunt, Delores Stevenson, said that doesn't make sense.

"A young aboriginal woman, who lived a high-risk lifestyle in the sex trade, ends up at the Delta Hotel at [4 a.m. CST], and falls down a laundry chute and it's not anything to be considered suspicious?"

"It's just unbelievable. It's completely unbelievable," Stevenson told CBC's iTeam.

She said it's also unbelievable that nine months later, the chief coroner doesn't have a toxicology report, and the final autopsy report still isn't complete.

In an email, the provincial Ministry of Justice explained that ordinarily, coroner reports take four to six months. It says "the delay is unfortunate and an unusual occurrence." 

Stevenson said it seems the justice system has all but given up.

"I feel like they all just want it to go under the carpet, and nobody says anything about it and it will just go away," Stevenson said.

"I am determined to find out what happened to Nadine. I'm not going to let this go."

Aunt says police informed family privately

Stevenson said police told them that early on the morning she died, Machiskinic was apparently intoxicated and making a lot of noise on the 10th floor of the Delta Hotel.

"And the last witness that saw her said that she pulled the fire alarm and was screaming around 'There's a fire,'" relayed Stevenson.

Stevenson said police told her Machiskinic was found at the bottom of the laundry chute, having plunged down it from the 10th floor. 

"At this point, investigators can't give us a conclusion as to how she got [into] the laundry room," Stevenson said. "They don't know if anybody pushed her or if she got in there on her own."

She said police told her the cameras were "glitchy" that night and therefore didn't capture Machiskinic entering or moving around the hotel.

As for that witness who saw Machiskinic screaming on the 10th floor, Stevenson said "police informed us that that witness was a man who was registered in the hotel who is not from Canada."

She said police wouldn't say if the man and Machiskinic were at the hotel together. 

Machiskinic lived a 'high risk' lifestyle

Stevenson acknowledges her niece struggled with addictions and worked in the sex trade. 

"Nadine worked in the sex trade. That was the high-risk lifestyle she lived. And that would be the only reason that I assume that she was at the Delta Hotel that night," Stevenson said.

Stevenson said she worries Machiskinic's death may be not be treated with urgency because she was an impaired aboriginal prostitute. 

"She didn't deserve to die in the manner she did and not have answers. And the stereotype that society has is awful and it could very well be because of that — that her case wasn't taken seriously," Stevenson said.

"Nadine was a human being. She was a person. She mattered," Stevenson said.

Aunt believes investigation may have been delayed

Stevenson says she's worried police may not have immediately begun their investigation the morning of Jan. 11 when Machiskinic fell and died. She says they aren't answering her questions.

"They haven't given me a timeframe as to when they started the investigation from the time they found her or when she died," Stevenson said. "There's a big gap there that's unexplained."

The iTeam has identified one curious gap, through a review of Regina police news releases over the past five years.

In 90 per cent of cases, police have issued a public news release about a death investigation within 24 hours of finding the body.

But in the case of Machiskinic, there was an almost 60-hour delay between the time of her death and when the public was notified. 

Police haven't offered any explanation, but say the investigation remains open.