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Death of Regina woman found at bottom of laundry chute undetermined: jury
Published Thursday, March 30, 2017 4:10PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, March 30, 2017 6:13PM CST
A coroner’s jury has ruled the death of a Regina woman found unresponsive at the bottom of a laundry chute at a downtown hotel as undetermined.
The jury of three men and three women deliberated for five hours at the inquest into the death of Nadine Machiskinic.
Machiskinic was found unresponsive at the bottom of a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in January 2015, and was later pronounced dead in hospital.
The jury made only one recommendation – that the laundry chutes in hotels always be kept locked and only ever be accessible to staff.
Machiskinic’s family has questioned how she fit through the opening of the laundry chute, which was only 53 centimetres wide, and why it took police 60 hours to launch an investigation.
“This whole inquest was to find out the circumstances around her death and to get truth,” Machiskinic's aunt, Delores Stevenson, said Thursday.
“I think we have uncovered a lot of truth in this while week with respect to how the investigation was handled, with respect to the documentations that were handed back and forth, and all the miscommunications that have happened.”
The inquest, which began Monday, heard testimony from several witnesses, including police and hotel staff.
Blood tests showed Machiskinic had alcohol and a mix of methadone and three other drugs in her system. The tests also found high levels of sleeping medication in her system. An empty bottle of prescription sleeping pills was found along with her body.
Toxicology expert Chris Keddy testified that even if Machiskinic was conscious, she would have been too intoxicated to climb into a laundry chute. However, he said there have been rare cases in which people with similar drugs in their system remain awake and mobile.
A second toxicologist, Graham Jones, testified there was not enough evidence to conclude that Machiskinic would have been incapable of climbing into a laundry chute. But under cross-examination, Jones said he had never seen the laundry chute, and couldn’t say how easy or difficult it would be to climb into.
The inquest also heard testimony from Delta Hotel employee Manjit Singh, who said he sent security to investigate a fire alarm that was sounding on the 10th floor. A short time later, he said, paramedics arrived and he followed them downstairs to the laundry room, where he saw Machiskinic laying on the floor.
Former Saskatchewan chief coroner Kent Stewart told the inquest that Machiskinic’s death was not immediately recognized as an incident that warranted police investigation.
Stewart said police were called later after injuries not consistent with an overdose death were found on Machiskinic’s body.
With files from CTV Regina's Dale Hunter and The Canadian Press