B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has ordered a coroner’s inquest into the mysterious 2011 death of Corey Scherbey in Chilliwack.
Gladys and Ed Scherbey have been fighting for years against the RCMP’s conclusion that the 38-year-old Corey Scherbey died of a drug overdose.
In a letter dated May 28, Minister Mike Farnworth wrote to the Scherbeys about his decision to hold an inquest.
“Each case is unique and I am convinced that in this case, the public interest is best served by such a public fact-finding exercise — an inquest — that will determine the cause and circumstances surrounding Mr. Scherbey’s death and satisfy the community that the death of one of its members was not overlooked, concealed or ignored,” Farnworth wrote.
It was August 22, 2011 on a Monday when Gladys walked through the door of Corey’s house and into his living room.
Corey’s back was to Gladys. He was on his knees in front of a leather sofa with his head face down on the cushion. A sprawling pool of black fluid surrounded the 38-year-old, hardened to a crust where it had flowed underneath the couch on the laminate floor.
Gladys screamed out his name and ran to him. She put her arms around his mid-section and placed him on the floor.
Cpl. Derek Santosuosso of the Chilliwack RCMP attended Corey’s Fairfield Island home when he was found dead on Aug. 22, 2011. There was no sign of trauma, a struggle, and no sign of forced entry.
A pathologist determined the cause of death to be “acute combined cocaine and ethanol intoxication.”
“I think it’s murder and that’s it,” Ed said at the time, something he and Gladys have maintained for nearly eight years.
“A mother knows when something has been done to her son,” Gladys said that same day.
While he may have died of a drug overdose, numerous unexplained circumstances haunted the two in the subsequent years as they fought for answers. There were allegedly suspicious real estate transactions. A high school friend, Tammy Bourdon, who told them that Corey was killed over drugs and money. She later died of a blood poisoning. There was also a cardboard box in the front closet with the words “Better Be A Funeral” written on it.
|A type-written note left at the Scherbeys house in 2014 that came with a photocopy of a Chilliwack Times story written in 2013 about the 2011 death of Corey Scherbey. A coroner’s inquest has been called into Scherbey’s death.|
Then there was the cryptic, typewritten note they received years after the death.
“Shakepeare [sic] said: ‘Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned,’” the note started. “That’s the kind of homicide is [sic] was, a scorned woman! Those who know who it was, belong to too tight a group to say a word!
“I think your son Corey decided too late to ‘back off’ and it jeopardized his well-being-his life!” The note was signed “a Reader of The CHWK Times.”
The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP reviewed the file and later requested Mounties conduct a further investigation into the case.
In late 2018, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki reviewed the case and agreed the investigation was not “reasonably thorough.”
The Scherbeys turned to the courts, and in 2018 one B.C. Supreme Court called for a review, and another suggested the Minister of Public Safety should consider an inquest.
The Scherbeys hired their own American forensic expert, a medical doctor who told them Corey was likely died as the result of homicide.
Now, Farnworth has directed Coroner Margaret Janzen to hold an inquest, at least in part based on the findings of the U.S. forensic expert.
A coroner’s inquest does not find fault and it is not a criminal investigation, prosecution or a civil trial, the Scherbeys were reminded in Farnworth’s letter.
“[I]t is a fact-finding exercise designed to determine the facts relating to a death, specifically the identity of the deceased, how, when, where and by what means the deceased came to their death. In addition, the death will be classified as natural, accidental, suicide, homicide or undetermined. The answers to each of these questions will be decided by a jury based on a balance of probabilities.”
There is no timeline for when the inquest will be held or how long it will last.