The Mission RCMP have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the disappearance of Brandon Sakebow by B.C.’s police watchdog.
The Independent Investigations Office’s (IIO) Chief Civilian Director reviewed the evidence and determined there was no connection between police and Sakebow’s disappearance, and “reasonable” search efforts were employed to locate him, according to an IIO news release.
“Video evidence from the detachment recorded the man’s movements from the time he arrived at the detachment until his release, where he can be seen walking away from the area by himself,” the release said.
“A review of available evidence confirms that a thorough search was undertaken, including area canvasses, patrols, missing person bulletins, and other related activities.”
Sakebow, who is Indigenous, disappeared after leaving the RCMP holding cell on March 21, 2020. His family from Saskatchewan reported him missing on March 27, when they couldn’t contact him for a week.
He had been picked up intoxicated on a Dewdney dairy farm in the early hours of the morning, police had previously stated. The IIO concluded he was picked up at 1:20 a.m. and released at 10:30 a.m. the same day.
On April 6, 2021, a hiker discovered his remains in a forested area near Hillcrest Avenue, less than 400 meters north of the Mission RCMP detachment. The identity was confirmed on April 27.
Sakebow was paroled from federal prison in late February 2020, and spent time in an Abbotsford halfway house before a fire displaced all the residents.
His belongings – his cellphone, wallet and clothes – were discovered in a stolen van in Mission by Abbotsford Police on March 24.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) investigators became involved following complaints from Sakebow’s family, and have requested an autopsy and toxicology report from the BC Coroners Service.
The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own independent investigation into his death.