Inquest into death of Samwel Uko scheduled for Sept. 20

Samwel Uko is shown in a family handout photo. The grieving family of a football player who they say died by suicide after seeking help at a Regina hospital believes a recent change by health officials may have saved him.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook

An inquest investigating the death of Samwel Uko has been scheduled for later this month.

On May 21, 2020, 20-year-old Uko was seen entering Wascana Lake and submerging under the water. He was later found dead in the lake.

The inquest is scheduled to be held on September 20-24, 2021. The first day of the inquest is set to begin at 10 a.m.

On the morning of May 21, Uko sought medical attention at the Regina General Hospital, where he told medical staff he was having trouble sleeping due to chronic pain from a previous car accident and was struggling with depression, according to Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) documents.

The documents show Uko told staff at the hospital he was not experiencing suicidal thoughts and he was cleared to go home. He left the hospital with medication, a referral to the mental health clinic, contact information for mobile crisis and was urged to return to hospital if he felt unsafe.

His family said he was taken to hospital by police a second time later that afternoon, after he called 911 to seek mental health attention. The SHA said Uko refused to give nurses his name – though he had given police his last name and date of birth – which led to security escorting him out of the hospital.

Surveillance video, released by the SHA, showed Uko screaming for help as four security officers physically removed him from the emergency room.

Within hours of being removed from the hospital Uko walked to Wascana Lake – where his body was found by search and rescue teams later that evening. Uko’s family believes he died by suicide.

Saskatchewan Health Authority officials issued a public apology for its role in Uko’s death in July 2020.

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service investigates all sudden unexpected deaths. The Chief Coroner may direct that an inquest be held into the death of any person.

“The purpose of an inquest is to establish who died, when and where that person died and the medical cause and manner of death. The coroner's jury may make recommendations to prevent similar deaths,” the Ministry of Justice said in a release.

With files from CTV Regina’s Cole Davenport & Michaela Solomon