A Campbell River woman says police have failed to communicate about an investigation into her brother’s 2011 death, a claim disputed by the local RCMP.
Cassie Britnell says her brother, Ryan Douglas Britnell, was murdered in a Campbell River club seven years ago – and that police have disclosed no information about the case since then.
She spoke to the Mirror about the case following the theft of a locket containing Ryan’s ashes earlier this month. The loss brought her feelings of frustration to the fore.
“We’ve kind of been kept in the dark about the whole situation,” she said. “It’s been so long and nothing has been done.”
She said the treatment of the case was “completely unfair” and that the case had received a “lack of attention” from police.
Asked about the case, the Campbell River RCMP said they’ve been in regular contact with the family. They declined to release any new details about the investigation into Ryan’s death.
“I am advised by Major Crimes that we have been in contact with the family consistently over the course of the investigation and (the family is) aware of all the findings,” said Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk, a Campbell River RCMP spokesperson, in an email to the Mirror.
The case “is still open,” Vlooswyk added.
But Cassie said police have never reached out to her since Ryan’s death, and they’ve been tight-lipped with her mother.
“They always tell her that it’s still under investigation, and that’s all they tell her,” Cassie said. “She has always called them (and) they tell her nothing.”
Asked if anyone else has communications with the police, Cassie said that her father, who lives in Toronto, gave up after trying to get information from the police.
“He tried contacting them, but they don’t give him anything,” she said. “I’m actually dumbfounded that they would even say that they’ve consistently kept in contact… I’ve never received a phone call from them, not once in seven years.”
Ryan was found unresponsive in the early hours of Apr. 22, 2011 at the Paramount Music Hall, a now-defunct club on Ironwood Road in Campbellton, also known as the Voodoo Lounge at different times over the years. The 26-year-old man later died in hospital.
Police released few details at the time but said his death was considered suspicious, and that Campbell River’s Major Crimes Unit was awaiting autopsy results.
Ryan had recently moved from Vancouver to Campbell River, where he was working in construction.
His ashes were contained in a silver heart-shaped locket that Cassie said was stolen from her car earlier this month, along with a ring that Ryan was wearing the night he died. Both items were still missing as of Tuesday afternoon.