Police error "inexcusable"; investigation continues

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
August 25th, 2009

A Grand Forks woman has been charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of 12-year-old John Fulton – but work continues as police deal with an ongoing investigation and the aftermath of tragedy.

According to Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, “Investigators will continue on with a wide gamut of tasks requiring completion … (including) the processing of the physical evidence collected at the scene. They (police forensic teams) have to re-create exactly what took place, very accurately.”

He said 42-year-old Kimberly Ruth Noyes, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, was formally charged Wednesday and appeared in a Nelson court Thursday. She will be taken to a remand centre in Surrey until her next scheduled court appearance on Sept. 2.

Fulton, described as a high-functioning Autistic child, disappeared from his Grand Forks home early Saturday evening. After a massive search, his body was found in Noyes’ home, just a few doors down from the Fultons’ townhouse, on Monday evening. Noyes was not at home at the time, and was arrested the following afternoon at Grand Forks Secondary School.

As well as gathering corroborating evidence for any upcoming court action, police are also having to deal with fallout from an “error” that took place in notifying the family of Fulton’s death.

“The issue (was) of the timing … when the press release (indicating Futon’s body had been found and police suspected homicide) was posted electronically, it was faster than the in-person notification,” he said. “The Fultons received a phone call from a reporter that began with the reporter (who had seen the press release) conveying condolences.”

Moskaluk acknowledged that this was not an acceptable way for anyone to receive such terrible news.

“It’s inexcusable, no matter what the semantics are,” he said. “It happens so rarely – but it shouldn’t happen ever.”

He said the situation will serve to make B.C. police that much more diligent when handling first-of-kin notifications, whether due to voilence or any other circumstance.

“Other officers across the province will hear of this, and it will stay in the forefront of their minds that we just can’t let this happen,” he said.

He added that now is a critical time for the public and media to show their support for the family by giving them some breathing space in which to cope with their grief.

Finally, he pointed out that the Fulton investigation has underlined the need for more public information regarding the criteria that warrant issuing an Amber Alert, as well as why police are unable to issue similar alerts every time a child goes missing.

A memorial service was held for Fulton in Grand Forks Sunday.

Categories: General


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