Sister of missing Labrador canoeist files complaint against RCMP for allegedly mishandling case

Luke Cooper is being remembered as a proud father and adventurer by his family. (Submitted)

The sister of missing canoeist Luke Cooper has filed a complaint against the Sheshatshiu RCMP believing the police force is mishandling her missing brother’s case.

Luke Cooper was 43 when he disappeared on July. 15, 2018 after his canoe capsized on the North West River.

He has since been presumed to be dead, but his family is searching for his body, and for answers.

Sheila Cooper told CBC News that there have been repeated attempts by the family to provide tips to the RCMP regarding her brother’s disappearance, but the family is continuously brushed aside.

In one instance, Cooper said, the family found a paddle resembling one he had owned, and when she contacted the RCMP to investigate the scene she says she was told it wouldn’t happen. 

“I videoed the conversation which [they] said they’re not interested,” she said. 

However, she says police did go to the location of the paddle after she made calls to a dispatcher in St. John’s.

Jeanien Cooper Bell (left) walks with dog handler Pauline Sunman, of the Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue Dog Association. Her family had hired Sunman to help look for Luke Cooper. (John Gaudi/CBC)

Cooper also believes the RCMP detachment didn’t follow protocol the day they received the phone call regarding his canoe overturning.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP has acknowledged Cooper’s complaint.

In an email Cooper provided to CBC News, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission said to her, “The Commission empathizes with your family with respect to the uncertainty you are facing concerning the circumstances of your missing brother.”


Cooper said she wants to see progress in the investigation of her brother’s disappearance and hopes her complaint to the commission will spur that along.

“I would like to have an investigation into my brother’s death, not somebody just pushing everything off,” she said. 

Cooper said she also hasn’t received any updates on the investigation and has been trying to get something, if anything, for months.

In the year since Luke Cooper’s disappearance, his sister says frustration has been growing within her family because of what they believe is a lack of action by the RCMP.

“They refuse for some reason, and I don’t go in there with my back up. I go in and I sit down and see what I can do,” she said.

CBC News contacted the RCMP for comment late Thursday evening.

A spokesperson in St. John’s said a response would be provided Friday.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Sister of missing Labrador canoeist files complaint against RCMP for allegedly mishandling case

Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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