Agencies look into fatal hotel plunge in Abbotsford

Alex Gervais, 18, died Sept. 18 when he fell through a window of a fourth-storey hotel suite

Alex Gervais

Alex Gervais

The BC Coroners Service and B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth are looking into the death of an 18-year-old youth who fell from an Abbotsford hotel last Friday.

Questions have arisen about the circumstances that led to Alex Gervais, who was in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, living in the Super 8 hotel on Sumas Way.

The teen was moved to that location after his former group home was shut down due to health and safety concerns.

It’s not known how long he had been living at the hotel and under what circumstances he had been in government care.

B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, has said she was given assurances that no children were being placed in hotels.

Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux has said she can’t comment on the case due to privacy issues.

Youth can stay in government care up to the age of 19.

Gervais’ friends say he was suffering from depression and did not have any supervision while living in the hotel.

Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the hotel at about 9 a.m. on Sept. 18 for reports of a fall out a window, and an air ambulance was dispatched, landing in the Walmart parking lot.

Gervais was then transported by ground ambulance to the waiting helicopter, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.

A growing collection of flowers, cards and messages now surrounds a tree that marks the area near where Gervais plunged to his death.

The initials “A. G.” are carved into the trunk, and felt-penned messages are written on a poster wrapped around it.

“Alex, you were definitely one to remember. Breaks my heart to know you’re no longer with us. Rest in paradise, man,” reads one note.

“We left you a compass so you can find your way to your next life,” reads another.

The memorial is located on the east side of the Walmart parking lot on Vedder Way at the bottom of the slope behind the Super 8 hotel.

It could be several weeks – or months – before any answers are released in Gervais’ death.

– with files from CTV

(Photo below by Vikki Hopes:A memorial marks the site near where Alex Gervais, 18, plunged to his death from an Abbotsford hotel on Sept. 18.)