SIU investigating OPP call near Kenilworth involving man’s death

After initially stating it is not involved, SIU confirms it's now investigating

WELLINGTON NORTH – The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has confirmed it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 47-year-old man here on either Nov. 26 or 27 — it isn’t clear when.

Wellington County OPP officials say officers responded to “a disturbance” call at a property on Concession 7, near Kenilworth, on Nov. 26 at about 10:15pm.

According to the SIU, police were told “a man, who lived in the home, (was) causing damage inside.”

Officers set up a perimeter around the residence and multiple attempts were made to contact the man, states a Dec. 2 SIU press release.

“After several hours, the Tactics and Rescue Unit entered the home and located the man, deceased, in the bathroom,” the release adds.

SIU officials say two investigators and one forensic investigator have been assigned to the case and, “At this time, two witness officials have been designated and interviewed.”

Wellington OPP did not make mention of an SIU investigation until contacted by the Advertiser with questions about the death.

On Dec. 2 at 11am, Wellington County OPP spokesperson Joshua Cunningham told the newspaper he could not comment “as [the] SIU has invoked their mandate.”

SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon told the Advertiser in an email on the same day, at noontime, that the agency did not invoke its mandate after being notified of the death by police on Nov. 27.

“The man’s death occurred prior to the involvement of police,” Hudon wrote.

Asked for confirmation by the paper, Hudon responded two hours later with “updated information” stating the SIU was in fact investigating.

In email exchanges between the Advertiser and the SIU, Hudon wrote: “Based on the information at the time, it did not appear to fall under the SIU’s mandate.”

The spokesperson said “further information came to light” which caused the SIU to invoke its mandate on Nov. 29.

The agency investigates police interactions involving serious injury, death, sexual assault allegations or discharge of a firearm at a person.

Hudon wrote that investigators had not visited the scene last week.

The Advertiser pressed for more information but was told specific questions about what led to the SIU opening an investigation two days after learning of the death could not be answered because the agency “cannot release details about a case while the investigation is ongoing as it could result in tainting the memories of witnesses.”

In cases where the SIU opts not to lay charges, Hudon stated, a fulsome report will be released.

-With files from Jordan Snobelen