Vancouver news: Chelsea Poorman case leads police to VanDusen Gardens

A police mobile command centre set up along the perimeter of VanDusen Botanical Gardens Saturday morning is connected to the investigation into the death of Chelsea Poorman, the Vancouver Police Department has confirmed.

The operation started around 8 a.m. Saturday though no details have been released about what investigators are looking for.

In an email to CTV News, spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said “we have shared details about today’s efforts with Chelsea’s family” and said the investigation was ongoing.

Poorman’s mother has previously stated she believes the circumstances around her daughter’s death are highly suspicious, saying Chelsea’s cranium and some fingers were missing upon the discovery of her remains.

Lorelei Williams has been supporting the family through the investigation and was invited to see firsthand what officers were doing. She said investigators were searching through the park in case coyotes had carried some of Chelsea’s remains to their dens.

“They showed me where they’re searching and they showed me what they’re searching with and the way they’re doing it,” Williams said. “If a coyote took a part of her, they’re going to check this part out.”

Despite the operation the park remained open to the public. When asked why the park wasn’t closed, Sgt. Addison said “it wasn’t necessary to do so for the work we were doing today.”

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.

Vancouver police say they believe she died the day she disappeared, or sometime shortly after, and her remains had been exposed to the elements for 20 months.

Investigators have said there is insufficient evidence to call her death suspicious — but her family is still desperate for answers, and believes posters pleading for information could prompt somebody to come forward.

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