When Ashley Machiskinic went flying out the 5th floor window of a room at the Regent Hotel to die in the alley below, a guy who frequents Carnegie Centre was sitting in the Regent Pub having a beer. He is a regular at that pub. Another guy in the Pub said to the Regular, "You know that girl who was just sitting at the bar having a beer? She went upstairs and jumped out the window."
The Regular was nonplussed. She had been sitting near him but he hadn't talked to her.
The Regular didn't wait for Machiskinic's death to become a media event before he came forward with his story. He was talking about this the day after Machiskinic died on Sept. 15.
This past Sunday evening, he was standing by the Salvation Army soup truck having a brocolli and turkey soup when he was asked if he had been to Carnegie on Friday for the Town hall meeting with Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, the meeting about the lax approach of police to women flying out windows on the Downtown Eastside. He said he hadn't known about the meeting. He hadn't known about the earlier demonstration at the Police Station either. He hadn't read the media coverage, as he doesn't read the 'lamestream media'. But he repeated his story to people standing around at the soup truck, his story about the young woman sitting at the bar of the Regent Pub having a beer and another guy in the pub -- Patrick, I believe -- telling him that she had gone upstairs and jumped out the window.
The Regular was asked at the soup line what this woman at the bar had looked like. Young, pretty, native, he said. He said she was sitting at the "long table" at the bar, "where she always sat." He was sitting near her.
He wasn't aware that people in the neighbourhood were disputing the police version of her death as a suicide.
I wonder if police also wrote off as a suicide, the young woman who went out the fouth floor window of the Cobalt Hotel in the summer of 2008. (We reported on it at the time; it has not been forgotten and continues to be occasionally discussed in the neighbourhood.) She was a white woman with reddish hair in a ponytail, possibly in her thirties.
Even though police are disadvantaged by the fact that Cobalt tenants aren't talkative, they would have had access to records that pointed away from suicide. That young woman had been beaten up on the same floor of that hotel a few days before she went out the window to her death. She was lying in the hallway after the beating (which may have even involved a stabbing) and the ambulance was called and the paramedics worked on her. A police report is generally written when there is a violent incident. She made the mistake of returning to her room at the hotel, which raised eyebrows as it was clearly unsafe.
When I read news coverage of the murder of a young woman in Delta, Laura S., I noticed that the crime scene had been secured for weeks, and remains secured, guarded by a cop. I thought of the Cobalt murder where a person who was on the fourth floor during that period said they don't recall a crime scene with yellow tape, at least nothing that obstructed the ability of people on that side of the fourth floor quadrangle to come and go. A neighbour just a few doors from Machiskinic had no idea that a death had occurred until two or three days later when another tenant mentioned it. After the young woman went out the Cobalt window, police didn't think to secure the spot in the hallway near her room where she had been beaten just days earlier. They went door to door the night she died and asked, "Did you hear anything unusual?", but they didn't ask about the earlier beating. If the Cobalt had been an expensive hotel, that entire side of the fourth floor quadrangle would have been behind yellow tape with a cop guarding the crime scene.
A person in the Cobalt hotel said they didn't personally know the young woman who died but had seen her around and she seemed to be a nice person, but they believed she was "into smokin' crack and maybe even banging up [injecting]".
I read in the paper that Chief Chu loaned Vancouver police officers to the Delta police to ensure that a maximum effort was made to solve the murder of the young Delta woman.