Woman found frozen was pregnant, family says

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Published Friday, January 5, 2018 10:04AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 5, 2018 11:44AM EST

A Winnipeg mother who left a hospital on Christmas Day and was found frozen behind an apartment building three days later was two months pregnant, her mother has learned.

Eleanor Sinclair says she found out during a meeting with officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on Thursday that her 29-year-old daughter, Windy, was pregnant when she died.

The elder Sinclair didn’t know and admits she broke down crying when hospital officials told her.

“She probably didn’t even know herself,” Sinclair told The Canadian Press.

Windy Sinclair was already a mother of four and was addicted to crystal meth, her mother told CTV Winnipeg. She said Windy had grown incoherent at their home on Dec. 25 and called 911. She was taken to Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks General Hospital in an ambulance.

The next day, Eleanor called the hospital and was stunned to learn her daughter was no longer in their care.

“I asked where she was. ‘Oh, she was seen, treated, and discharged’,” she says she was told.

In a statement to CTV News, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said that after staff left Sinclair’s treatment area to retrieve test results, they returned to find she had taken her belongings and left.

Real Cloutier, the WRHA’s interim president and CEO, said in a statement that hospital staff searched the area for Sinclair, but were unable to locate her.

“Calls to the number on Ms. Sinclair’s file were unanswered,” he said

Sinclair’s body was found on Dec. 28, approximately eight kilometres from the hospital, behind an apartment building.

Her body was discovered near a vent that was releasing warm air, her cousin, Tina Easter, told CTV, suggesting she may have been trying to keep warm. It’s not clear why she was in the neighbourhood where she was found.

On Thursday, the WRHA said it was conducting an internal review to determine if enough was done to locate Sinclair.

“When a patient leaves before care is complete without informing staff, a Code Yellow may be called and a procedure undertaken to search for the individual. Our internal review will include an investigation to determine if a Code Yellow was called in this case,” a spokesperson said.

Marion Willis, the founder of St. Boniface Street Links, a group that helps to find housing for the homeless, often works with people who are addicted to crystal meth. She worries that deaths like Sinclair’s will continue without more supports in place.

“We’re trying to use the resources that we have, that haven’t been designed to deal with the meth crisis, it’s like we’re trying to treat cancer with insulin,” she says.

Former meth addict Shane, who requested not to use his last name, has been in recovery for about three months being addicted for years. He says, when the psychosis that typically accompanies a meth addiction became too much for him, he tried to seek help, but found it wasn’t accessible.

“I went to the hospital and because of the psychosis and the use of drugs, they said there really wasn’t much they can do for me,” he said.

Shane says he’d like to see change so others can get the help they need.

“The medical field, the social workers, they don’t understand it (meth addiction) yet. So they need to do something about it before it becomes a lot bigger problem,” he says.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Police has not yet confirmed the identity of the frozen body they found on Dec. 28. A cause of death has not been confirmed, but police have said they are not investigating the death as a homicide.

With reports from CTV Winnipeg’s Gabrielle Marchand and Beth Macdonell and files from The Canadian Press


Woman found frozen was pregnant, family says

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