justice for Tyler Maracle and Matty Fairman
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At the very start of the investigation the first place the police and all search parties were told to look, was the lighthouse. An advanced sonar machine, helicopter, experienced divers, and hundreds of searchers missed locating these young men, yet every single search began at the lighthouse. Weeks later, these young men, as well as their boat, somehow still seemed to pop up at the lighthouse.
Tyler's family reached out to the OPP to seek assistance in finding the men because Tyendinaga Police Service did not contact the family until the Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (R. Donald Maracle) contacted the Chief of Police, Ron Maracle, three days after their disappearance.
The dive team explained in detail how they do a 'recovery' and described how they went back to another 18ft boat that they discovered during the search just to be sure it wasn’t the one occupied by Tyler and Matty. Since they knew the exact measurements to be 18ft, how was the boat apparently, 'missed because the nets covered the bottom of the boat?', when in fact the length of the boat would have still been apparent to those reviewing the footage.
The helicopter that was loaned specifically to search for the young men could see drag marks on the bottom of the bay but the findings were dismissed by police.
In the end, the boat was discovered by the Mohawk Fire Department utilizing a sonar device purchased from Canadian Tire.
After examination of the boat there was nothing to indicate that either of them were pulled in by the net or boat and/or essentially trapped enough to prevent them from vacating the boat.
Neither of the young men were tangled in the fishing net or pinned in the boat by any objects and all the netting was found in the boat which proves that it sank after the net was added.
When the boat was recovered it was found with cement blocks and numerous car batteries inside, items that would have never been inserted by either one of the occupants for obvious reasons. In addition to the suspect items, family members discovered that the gas line was unhooked from the tank, yet the clip was nowhere to be found, (a clip that does not detach without applying pressure) and the plug in the boat was missing.
The day the young men were discovered, Tyler's father, Robin, received a phone call to proceed to the Pow Wow park for a 'meeting'. When he asked if he should bring anyone, he was told to bring whoever he wanted. This is how the family was informed of the deaths, in a public venue full of anyone who wished to listen. No parent should EVER have to learn about their child's death in the manner. Most Police should know better than to do so. The very act is degrading and disrespectful to both the men as well as the families.
After the funeral, Tyler's Mother, Tammy, placed a phone called to an OPP Liaison Officer to see if there was any intention to meet with the families after the funeral to discuss the investigation and she was told that the case was closed and the deaths were officially filed as 'Accidental Drowning' at which time Tyler’s father asked them to provide a letter stating the file was closed. First they were told they don’t do that then they were told that they couldn’t because the case was was still open, minutes after telling her it was closed….?
Police initially indicated to the Coroner that the family suspected foul play and that there had been a dispute previously with another fisherman, a point which should have inclined the Coroner to treat the deaths suspiciously, but the deaths were still processed without any additional concern and simply ruled as drownings. Was it the colour of their skin that swayed the Pathologist to skip the extra work?
It is the wish of Tyler's family that a third party take over the lead in the investigation of the deaths of the men since the Tyendinaga Police do not have the manpower to devote the time needed or the equipment required, to follow every tip that has been, or could have been. reported to the investigating officers during the search.
Both families need closure and answers to questions that should have been provided as they arose, not years later, and after the families had to initiate the dialogue. There are simply too many questions and uncertainties surround the 'accidental drowning' of these young men and it should not be left to the families to seek the answers on their own.
· How did both boys unconsciously undress and where are their belongings, specifically Tyler’s sweater and Matty's pants or spear?
· Both young men were experienced fishermen and neither would haul up a 900 ft net empty let alone filled with fish on a small boat along with cement weights and car batteries on board so how did all of those items get into the boat and where did they come from?
· Once the boat took on water both men would have scrambled to remove their chest waders (just like they were taught since the age of 4) as they would have started to fill with water. If they drowned accidentally then how did they manage to remove their boots by neatly folding them down as found in the span of time it took for the boat to fill with water?
· Is it normal for two drowning victims, who supposedly drowned at the same time, to be found less than 50ft apart from one another, beside the boat they had drowned in, 14 days later after the waters and shores had been searched every single day for those two weeks?
· How come the boat was never examined by the police but immediately released to the family to “do what you want with it”?
· Why couldn’t the Pathologist tell us how long the young men were in the water or what type of water was found in their lungs?
· Why was the string found in Tyler's stomach never examined when we were told that the only way someone would have string in their stomach at the time of death usually indicates that the individual was gagged?
· Why didn’t the police assume the worst and tape off the area where the truck had been found or the truck itself upon discovering that both men were missing?
· Tyler's sneakers remained outside of the truck at the address on Bayshore Road for about one week before Tyler's Grandmother picked them up, put them in her vehicle and brought them back to family home. The truck then sat in an open area, already contaminated by the numerous community members helping to search, and was not moved until Tyler’s girlfriend contacted a towing company to have it removed. How is this acceptable?
· Waders were found by a community member laying on shore, she immediately called Tyendinaga Police looking for direction and she was told to move them to a location where they would not be disturbed. She placed them in the trunk of her car where they remained until Tyler's Father, Robin, picked them up and brought them to his home. At no time was anyone asked to identify the waders as belonging to the boys. Why didn’t the Tyendinaga Police retrieve any of the items that the community members found during the searches, even after they were notified?
· Why weren’t any of the items that had been found, (with the exception of the gas tank and a glove), brought to the families for identification purposes?
· Why weren’t the families provided a copy of the autopsy report, why did they have to search and retrieve it themselves?
· Why did it take three days after the disappearance of our young men for the Tyendinaga Police Services to contact Tyler's family and why did they only make an effort to speak to the family twice, one of which was prompted by a phone call to the Chief of Police from the Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and the other after the public announcement in the park?
· Why was the trolling motor discovered tangled in the net as if it were in the bottom of the boat when it would and should have been placed on the transit beside the motor?
During the search, Tyler's family and friends had been doing their own investigating and across the bay, a home owner pointed out where it appeared a boat had recently rammed into his dock. This too was reported and dismissed by the Tyendinaga Police.
Once all of these questions are answered to a degree of certainty, and, due diligence is done to ensure that an investigation has been done properly, only then will Tyler’s family have the closure they need to move on and only then will they remove themselves from the premises of the Tyendinaga Police Services property.
What would you do if these are the answers that you were provided on the death of your child? Is this how you would want the circumstances surrounding their death to be investigated? Please, help us get the answers that the families deserve by standing up and voicing your opinion.
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