'What happened to Chelsea?' Vancouver march demands answers in Indigenous woman's death

Around a hundred people gathered at noon Saturday at the empty Vancouver home where Chelsea Poorman’s remains were found late last month.

Poorman was a member of the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan and had recently moved to Vancouver when she went missing in 2020. Almost two years later, her remains were found on the property of a home in the upscale Shaughnessy neighbourhood which was believed to be frequented by squatters.

"She didn't deserve this and nobody does," said Jessica Allan, an Indigenous woman who didn’t know Chelsea personally but wanted to show her support.

After a few songs and speeches, the group then marched their way from the home. to the downtown location where Chelsea was last seen alive nearly two years ago.

"I just want people to know that I’m not going to stop fighting until I get answers to what happened behind this house," said Chelsea’s mother Sheila.

The Poorman family has expressed frustration with police on the investigation, particularly when the Vancouver Police Department said there was insufficient evidence to label Chelsea’s death as suspicious.

Sheila believes the circumstances are highly suspicious, especially considering Chelsea’s cranium and some fingers were missing upon the discovery of her remains.

“We believe Chelsea likely died the night she went missing or shortly thereafter, and remained undiscovered until last month,” said the VPD via email statement to CTV News.

“Twenty months have passed, including two winters and a heat dome. During that time, weather and other environmental factors may have contributed to the degradation of her remains.”

Sheila says police gave her a different answer as to why some of the remains were missing.

"What they have suggested to me is that it was an animal that came and took those parts but the question is -- she was covered up in a blanket -- did the animal go underneath the blanket? Take that part and put the blanket back?”

The group walked nearly five kilometres on major roads and the Granville Street Bridge with police directing traffic. They chanted slogans like “Justice for Chelsea”, while posting flyers throughout the city with Chelsea’s picture on it and a line that reads “What happened to Chelsea Poorman?”

Sheila issued an emotional plea for answers to the public.

"Whoever came to this house with my daughter that night -- I ask you to come forward so that we, the family, can have closure to what happened to Chelsea."

Some answers could be on the way soon. The BC Coroners Service told CTV News it is currently investigating the cause and manner of Chelsea’s death. However, it wouldn’t provide an exact timeline and won’t reveal any of its findings until the investigation is complete. The investigation could take several weeks or months to complete.

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