VANCOUVER, B.C. – Noelle O’ Soup’s family says they were trying to remove her from a Port Coquitlam group home before the teen went missing, according to a CBC report.
O’Soup, as well as her three brothers, had been living in group homes for over 10 years. All the siblings are members of the Saulteau First Nations and the Key First Nation in Saskatchewan.
She went missing in May 2021 after running away from the group home.
Her remains, along with the remains of the apartment’s 40-year-old male tenant and an unidentified woman, were found in an East Hastings apartment on May 1st, 2022.
O’Soup’s uncle, Cody Munch, says he had been periodically making trips from Fort St. John to Vancouver to build a bond with her and her siblings. He says he was speaking to B.C’s Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) about moving O’Soup into his Fort St. John home.
Munch told CBC‘s Michelle Ghoussoub that O’Soup would have been better off in his care and questioned what occurred in the group home.
“We wanted to ask questions about everything that happened leading up to her death and all, and [MCFD] didn’t want to talk about any of that.”
“What pushes a 14-year-old girl to East Hastings and Heatley Street, even to be even hanging around there?”
Munch claims both MCFD and the Vancouver Police department failed to notify the family of O’Soup’s initial disappearance and reportedly didn’t reach out to her siblings to ask them if they’d heard from their sister.
The VPD did reach out to O’Soup’s mother after her disappearance, however, Munch told CBC that her mother suffers from addiction and “struggles to maintain clear communication with the family.”
“We should have all been informed, you know, like we’re all putting in this work to try to get these kids out of the system,” he said,
Munch said if he’d known his niece was missing, he would have travelled to Vancouver to search for her.
The family was kept in the dark again when O’Soup’s remains were identified, with Munch learning of her death through news reports while travelling back to Fort St. John after visiting her brothers.
“That’s a stretch from May 1st to almost middle of June to finding out that my niece has passed away. And I have to find out over the news on the drive home.”
Munch told CBC that what bothered him was that MCFD didn’t tell him while he was in Vancouver so that he could have been there for his nephews. He says the MCFD officer informed him that they couldn’t warn him of the news due to privacy.
In a statement to CBC, MCFD said that minister Mitzi Dean was unavailable for an interview.
“Due to confidentiality, the ministry cannot comment publicly on — or even confirm ministry involvement with — any individual child or youth or family,” a snippet of the statement said.
The statement from the MCFD to CBC reportedly continued by saying that “when a youth in care goes missing, the caregiver is required to report their absence to the ministry, which notifies the police. When a youth in care dies, the ministry initiates a child and family practice review, formerly referred to as a case review.”
The ministry says that practice reviews “may result in action plans to address practice issues that have been identified.”
Munch told CBC that he’s still unable to access fundamental information about his niece’s life in the group home, and he hasn’t been given access to her MCFD file.
In a statement to CBC, the VPD stated that officers met privately with O’Soup’s family members when her identity was confirmed and will reportedly continue to provide the family with updates on the investigation, which remains open.