A 19-year-old woman was found dead in a tent in Surrey on Wednesday afternoon.
At 1:25 pm, Surrey RCMP were called to the scene at 132nd Street and King George Boulevard, where the woman was found deceased.
A cause of death hasn’t been determined at this point, said BC Coroners Services spokesperson Barb McLintock, but the incident is still being investigated.
While they had few details to release on the case, police said the death is not considered suspicious.
BC’s Children and Youth representative Bernard Richard said the girl – who was aboriginal – aged out of government care seven months ago, but he didn’t know how long she’d been living at the location where she was found.
He noted the woman “was part of a cohort of youth we’ve been following” that share similar stories to hers, including Alex Gervais, who was found dead in September 2015 at an Abbotsford hotel. Gervais had been living in the hotel after the group home where he had been living closed down.
In an interview with Daily Hive, Richard said he’d like to see changes to how youth who have aged out of government care are taken care of, through the period of transition between government care and other living arrangements.
“They need support while they transition,” he said. “These are the most vulnerable people and to just close the door on them is just not right.”
In the past, he noted, there has been talk about increasing the age at which someone ages out of government care to 25, but stressed there would still need to be better support networks in place.
“There’s no reason that a province like BC can’t provide better care,” he said.
And this latest incident – while tragic – is also “an opportunity” for the minister [of Children and Family Development] to “step up and do something,” he said. “The province needs to respond now… certainly we’ll be following up on this case.”