‘My husband didn’t want to die’: Death of Charlottetown man at Province House could have been prevented, says family
STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Editor’s be aware: The next story incorporates psychological well being content material that will act as a set off for some readers.
Tyler Knockwood was a loving father, an avid sports activities fan and an all-around household man.
Described as a strong-yet-gentle large, those that had been near Tyler mentioned he was the kind of man who would lend a serving to hand to anybody who wanted it.
Nonetheless, in his remaining days of life, when Tyler turned to police and medical officers for assist, no help got here. His household mentioned that lack of essential assist finally led to him taking his personal life.
“I simply can’t assist however really feel that he ought to nonetheless be right here right this moment,” Laura Knockwood, Tyler’s spouse, mentioned on Friday, Jan. 26, as she sat subsequent to a group of his objects, together with a number of framed pictures, his favorite pair of basketball sneakers and an urn containing his ashes, in her lounge.
“This didn’t have to occur. My husband didn’t wish to die.”
Ups and downs
Tyler, a 34-year-old Indigenous man, lived in Charlottetown with Laura and their two kids.
He was a person of ardour – he had been working as a carpenter and stone mason at Province Home Nationwide Historic Website for plenty of years, mentioned Laura, one thing he was immensely pleased with.
“Province Home was, subsequent to house, probably the most particular place to Tyler,” she mentioned.
“He’s put his coronary heart and soul into there. He only recently donated an eagle feather to Parks Canada to be encased within the wall when it reopens. He did a smudge ceremony with them. It was a protected place for him.”
Exterior of his work, Tyler was quirky, all the time striving to be the lifetime of the occasion, however was additionally fast to share his love with these round him, mentioned Laura. That love prolonged to everybody whom he felt mattered, whether or not household or buddy.
“I used to be a single mother, I had my very own 4 youngsters, and Tyler did something and all the pieces for my youngsters,” mentioned Michelle MacArthur, Tyler’s sister-in-law, as she sat subsequent to Laura.
“He was a mentor for my youngsters. My son turns 18 in a number of days, and a few weeks in the past Tyler mentioned to me, ‘I suppose it is time I had the discuss with him.’ He was principally like his dad; he was like all people’s dad.”
However like many in P.E.I., Tyler struggled with psychological sickness and dependancy points, battling, typically alone, to beat his inner challenges.
“He did battle his psychological sickness for a few years,” mentioned Laura. “For Tyler, there was a stigma round getting a prognosis. It all the time fearful him. Although he struggled although, he was glad. He was a contented particular person.”
The primary name for assist
Three years in the past, Tyler entered what Laura described as a psychotic break and was admitted into psychological well being care at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.
Nonetheless, at the moment, the hospital deemed the incident as a drug-induced occasion and finally launched him with none kind of assist plan or psychological well being help, mentioned Laura.
That’s when Tyler first confirmed indicators that one thing was not proper, she mentioned.
“I did see a change in Tyler from that time limit. He simply appeared a bit dimmer. He nonetheless had bouts of maximum happiness, however he simply gave the impression to be a bit quieter from that time.
“He wasn’t like looking home windows or appearing out to an excessive. Nothing like that final weekend. It was definitely nothing regarding sufficient for somebody to deliver it up.”
Laura mentioned regardless of this newfound paranoia, Tyler didn’t have any comparable incidents since then, till just lately.
A sudden change
On Jan. 12, Laura defined that when Tyler got here house from work, he appeared scared and overly paranoid and started accusing her of making an attempt to poison and manipulate him. Ultimately, the subsequent morning, Tyler mentioned he was leaving and ready to go to work.
“He mentioned, ‘I don’t really feel protected right here and I’m not coming again.’ I mentioned to him, ‘please, when you don’t really feel protected right here, by all means go someplace you’re feeling protected,” mentioned Laura.
Hours later, Laura obtained a textual content from Tyler saying he had harm himself and was heading to the hospital. As soon as there, Tyler was positioned underneath 24-hour self-harm watch, earlier than he was launched the subsequent day, once more, she mentioned, with out a assist plan or provides of help.
Within the early hours of Jan. 16, Tyler returned house, nonetheless displaying paranoia towards Laura.
She mentioned he additionally started protecting the vents in the home with paper, shifting objects round the home and dumping their laundry on the ground.
Begging for assist
After staying in her bed room with their two youngsters for hours, Laura obtained her sister, MacArthur, to name the Charlottetown police. Once they arrived, issues started to go sideways, mentioned Laura.
“I used to be making an attempt to inform the officer exterior particulars of the occasions up up to now and he simply stored repeating, ‘I’m speaking about right this moment. Did he say he was going to hurt himself right this moment?’” she mentioned.
Ultimately, Laura and MacArthur started asking the officers to take Tyler again to the hospital, however they’d not.
“The officer exterior mentioned, ‘He’s just a bit underneath the factors (to confess him to care),’” mentioned MacArthur.
In complete, police visited their house 3 times that day, not as soon as taking Tyler to the hospital, mentioned Laura.
Ultimately, police introduced Laura to the station, the place she was instructed she would wish to signal a stay-away order in opposition to her husband resulting from a name being made to youngster protecting companies concerning the incident.
“It didn’t sit proper with me the entire time, and I instructed (the officer), he’s going to kill himself,’” she mentioned.
“‘Nobody is taking him to the hospital, and now you might be telling him he can’t discuss to us? See us? He’s going to kill himself.’ I instructed all of them this was going to occur.”
Regardless of her hope that the police would finally take him to the hospital, they didn’t. As an alternative, officers dropped him off downtown, she mentioned.
“They simply stored telling me he’s a grown man. He’ll determine it out himself. However I knew he was going to die,” mentioned Laura.
“I knew it as a result of I couldn’t make him go (to the hospital), and the individuals who may, didn’t. They instructed me if I contacted him, I might be charged. So, I simply laid there, for hours, not understanding the place he was or if he was protected, ready for my telephone to ring.”
On the morning of Jan. 17, safety discovered Tyler lifeless inside Province Home, the place the place Laura mentioned he as soon as felt the most secure and most safe.
In an emailed response to an inquiry by SaltWire Community, Parks Canada officers confirmed there was an incident at Province Home leading to a lack of life.
“We want to prolong our deepest and most honest condolences to household, associates and the neighborhood. Grief counsellors and extra helps have been made out there to the employees on the website.”
Whereas the injuries of dropping Tyler are nonetheless recent, Laura mentioned the assist she has acquired from household and associates retains her going.
She mentioned she intends to file a grievance in opposition to Charlottetown Police Providers for a way they dealt with the state of affairs. SaltWire Community contacted the Metropolis of Charlottetown to inquire about police conduct and procedures whereas coping with psychological well being calls. In an electronic mail, a metropolis spokesperson mentioned, “The Charlottetown Police Division haven’t any remark.”
Whether or not something comes of the grievance, although, it won’t change the actual fact Tyler is gone.
“I’m simply unhappy for day by day we now have to dwell with out him. I’m unhappy for each milestone we’ll hit with out him. My daughter, she’s unhappy about not having him for her marriage ceremony day or her commencement,” she mentioned.
“He was my finest buddy. And the love he gave me, I’ll lengthy for that feeling day by day.”
For fast psychological well being and addictions assist, together with accessing cell psychological well being companies, name the psychological well being and addictions telephone line toll-free 1-833-553-6983.
Cody McEachern is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by electronic mail at c[email protected] and adopted on Twitter @CodyInHiFi.