DAWSON CREEK -- After four days of hearings, a verdict has been reached in the coroner’s inquest of Jaime Hope.

The evidence portion of the inquest concluded June 20, 2024, with the jurors handing down their verdict  just after 2:00 p.m. Friday.

The jury reaching a unanimous conclusion that Hope’s death was accidental, and made three recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similair circumstances in the future. 

The first recommends that any officer authorizing or conducting a strip search review current RCMP procedure to ensure policy is followed.

The jury then recommended that a visual strip search training guide be created and implanted on a provincial level, detailing the positioning of one’s body during a search to provide a consistent standard.

During the inquest, testimony was heard from Karlee Vanhie who testified she had little experience in strip searches, relying on instructions from jail guards to ensure it was performed correctly.

The third asked that civilian jail guards at the Dawson Creek detachment feel motivated to ask for additional backup when needed.

At the time of Hope’s detainment, there were two civilian jail guards working rotational shifts in the precinct that at the time was full with eight detainees.

Hope died in hospital after going into medical distress while in police custody in April of 2019.

A bag with a substance determined to be methamphetamine was found in her jail cell.

The drug is believed to have seeped through a plastic bag that Hope concealed internally.

Over the past week, jurors heard from key witnesses, RCMP, civilian guards, medical, and security experts who provided insight into the events leading up to her death.

Much of the questioning from Inquest Council Rolf Warburton surrounding how police perform strip searches, and whether policy changes could prevent deaths under similar circumstances in the future.

The jury's conclusions are not binding.