Testawich investigation continues

While Dawson Creek RCMP say Ashley Testawich’s death is no longer suspicious – the BC Coroner’s office say their work is just beginning, and it will not be completed until the end of the year.

On the morning of December 8, Testawich was found dead outside the Hart Hotel.  RCMP called the death suspicious and asked for tips to be sent to the detachment; and or Crimestoppers.

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However by afternoon of December 13, just over five days later in a press release, RCMP noted the death was no longer suspicious and that the case has been referred to the BC Coroners Service for further investigation, and that no evidence of foul play. Ashley’s wife Dayna was also called within five days of the death and told by a DC RCMP constable her husband had died of a heart attack. However, his iPhone was working and active after his death.

“Through investigation and evidence obtained at the autopsy, the suspicious death reported to the RCMP on December 8 2018 is now a BC Coroners Case,” said RCMP on December 13.

 “Although the cause of death will not be released by the RCMP, there is no evidence of foul play. The BC Coroners Service now has conduct of this investigation and any further inquiries should be directed to them.”

When asked, the BC Coroners Service has told the Mirror on Tuesday that it does not assign fault, nor does it make a determination on whether or not a death is suspicious – only the RCMP do.

“I can confirm the Coroners Service is investigating to determine who died, how, where, when, and by what means - so cause of death is something we will release once our investigation is complete,” said Andy Watson with the BC Coroners office.

While Dawson Creek S/Sgt. Damon Werrell said Wednesday that preliminary findings of the autopsy lead them to believe the death is not suspicious.

“Based on the preliminary findings of the autopsy and the investigation to-date, the death is not believed to be suspicious,” said Werrell.

 Andy Watson with the BC Coroners office noted Tuesday everything related to Testawich is still in the early stages, adding the work has just begun.

“We are still in the early stages of the fact-finding investigation and the determination of whether or not a death is suspicious would come from RCMP,” said Watson adding a report is expected before the end of 2019.

Key dates

December 8 - body found and RCMP call the death suspicious
December 12 - wife of Testawich says she’s told heart attack
December 13 - RCMP say the death no longer suspicious; hand over investigation to BC Coroners
January 22 -  BC Coroners Services says early stages and fact-finding is now just beginning

Wife Dayna and older brother of Ashley Testawich also have questions. 

Ashley’s wife Dayna says she was told officially by RCMP on December 12 that Testawich died of a heart attack, noting this was a fast diagnosis.

“We have been told heart attack. However heart attack victims don’t have iPhones walk away, and with heart attacks you normally don’t have people claiming they can’t remember, or witnesses changing stories,” says Ashley’s older brother David. 

Dayna says she has now heard a handful of people tell her different variations of stories. She notes that his cell phone was still being used after his death.

“I wonder if the RCMP have heard any of them. All I know is the RCMP called me from Dawson Creek to tell me my husband died – and when I came to identify him he clearly had bruises, scrapes and scratches,” she says.

“He was struck on the back and side of the head,” she adds.

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