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Chelsea Poorman: Mystery Unraveled or Unanswered?

Chelsea Poorman

Chelsea Poorman was a young dreamer who was only 24 years old when she moved from Saskatoon, Canada, to Vancouver in the same country.

As an indigenous young woman, despite her struggles with depression, Chelsea had many plans for her life, as reported by her family members. “Her dream was to become a makeup artist, stylist, or musician,” her mother, Sheila, said in an interview.

So many unanswered questions" in Chelsea Poorman's mysterious death | Vancouver Sun

Because of this, Chelsea decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother and her sister, Paige Kiernan, to seek a better life in Vancouver, considering that this city was three times larger than her hometown.

Another reason for her move to Vancouver was to access better medical treatments. In 2014, Chelsea was involved in a serious car accident that left her with some physical and mental sequelae. “She was a few years younger, mentally speaking,” her mother explained. “She also had difficulty getting around and needed a leg prosthesis. This made her life more challenging.”

A Dreamer’s Move

Chelsea’s ambitious journey from Saskatoon to Vancouver at 24, aiming to pursue dreams despite battling depression.

On September 7, 2020, Chelsea had been in the city for a few weeks when her sister invited her to go to a bar to relax. After a few drinks, the two decided to go to a party at a friend’s apartment near the bar.

Chelsea Poorman's body lay in Shaughnessy for more than a year. But her death was not considered suspicious | CBC News

Upon arriving at the friend’s party, the two sisters separated, and Paige did not see Chelsea again. When Paige wanted to return home, she called her sister to find out her whereabouts. Chelsea answered the phone briefly and said, “I’m with my new guy,” and hung up. As far as Chelsea’s family knew, she was not dating anyone, so her sister found this information strange but could not establish further contact with Chelsea after that.

Mysterious Night Out

he unsettling disappearance of Chelsea after a night at a party, prompting a desperate search and appeals for information.

Her disappearance was reported to the police the following day when she did not return home or make contact. An intensive search for the girl began, extending over the next few months and sweeping through various areas near where Chelsea had last been seen.

The family made various appeals on social media and television, even offering a $10,000 reward, raised through donations, for anyone with any information. Despite the police’s efforts, the searches were ultimately unsuccessful, leaving Chelsea’s family without answers about what happened to her.

Tragic Discovery

The heartbreaking end to Chelsea’s story, discovered 18 months later in an abandoned mansion’s backyard.

However, on April 22, 2021, 18 months after her disappearance was reported, the search for young Chelsea ended tragically. What remained of her body was found by a construction worker in the backyard of an empty mansion under renovation, which had been uninhabited for at least two years. This mansion was located in the same area as the bar where she was last seen.

At the time, Sergeant Steve Addison offered his condolences to the family in a press statement. In the same statement, the sergeant mentioned that the police believed it was likely that Chelsea had passed away on the property where she was found. They also stated that her death was not considered suspicious as there was no evidence of foul play. However, no details about the circumstances of Chelsea’s death were disclosed.

“We probably will never know what caused her death,” said Officer Steve Addison. “The area where she was found was quite neglected and overgrown with vegetation. It’s quite likely and plausible that she died there shortly after disappearing and remained there undetected until two weeks ago when a contractor came to work on the house.”

But due to Chelsea’s disability, the way her body was found, and the disappearance of her cellphone, her mother believes that her daughter may have been the victim of a crime. “I was told something by the coroner, and I had to ask twice to see if what he said was true. He said Chelsea’s body was not entirely intact. She was missing part of her skull and some fingers. And they dare to say that this is not suspicious or a crime?” Sheila said in a statement.

The apparent disregard of the police in investigating Chelsea’s case led to various protests by Canadian and American groups supporting women and indigenous people.

Controversial Closure

Controversy surrounds Chelsea’s case, with questions about police diligence and suspicions raised by her mother.

According to these groups, the police have no interest in investigating such cases because their intentions are to perpetuate a continuous system of colonialism and systemic racism. “Poorman’s disappearance and the subsequent discovery were yet another example of how indigenous women and girls face the most violent aspects of these systems,” said Audrey Siegl, a member of the Musqueam First Nation group.

The Vancouver police, however, claimed that every effort had been made to find Chelsea since the day she was reported missing. “The Vancouver Police Department began investigating Chelsea Poorman’s disappearance on the day she was reported missing and did not stop searching for her until she was discovered,” the police department said in an email statement.

Community Outcry

Advocacy groups decry systemic issues, alleging indifference in investigating indigenous cases and demanding accountability.

As time went on, various other groups advocating for Native Americans and Canadians became involved in the case.

“It is the duty of the police to thoroughly investigate a death. If the coroner tells the family that the body is not intact, and there is no explanation, an investigation should be conducted,” said Anita McPhee, a member of the Vancouver state justice council.

Call for Justice

Community protests highlight larger issues, emphasizing the need for transparency and justice in indigenous cases.

There are still several unanswered questions in Chelsea’s case, such as:

Unanswered Questions:

  1. If Chelsea had difficulty walking, how did she manage to jump over the mansion’s gate when its gates were locked when her body was found?
  2. Who was the man she claimed to be with when her sister called from the party?
  3. What caused the injuries mentioned by the coroner?

Unfortunately, this will likely be another case for which we will never have definitive answers regarding what really happened. We can only hope that the lack of answers is due to the circumstances of the crime, such as the advanced state of decomposition of the body and the lack of witnesses, rather than the prejudice and indifference of the police in fulfilling their duty to investigate.

Hope Amid Uncertainty

Despite lingering mysteries, the hope for justice prevails, pushing for a fair and diligent investigation into Chelsea’s tragic fate.

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