26-year-old man who died mysteriously identified by the BC Coroners Service
By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer
An investigation by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) into what they at first called a “suspicious” death has come to a close. The investigation centred on a young man, 26, who was found dead in a storm drain just southwest of Hastings Park on Kaslo Street in East Vancouver on the morning of September 6. Police have concluded that the unusual death of the man, identified by the British Columbia Coroners Service as Charles Derrick Oudie, was a just a “tragic accident” in the eyes of VPD Constable Brian Montague.
“The indication is this is a bizarre set of circumstances, and it looks like he entered the sewer and couldn’t get out,” Constable Montague told The Province. After interviewing a friend of Oudie, who went out with him for drinks at Cambie Bar & Grill before going to the home of a friend who lived near the storm drain, investigators determined that the death was not a homicide.
Due to the presence of some personal items of his around the immediate area—including his sweatshirt, hat, and shoes—the police and residents of Kaslo Street originally believed that Oudie dropped his cellphone down the drain, and went in to try and retrieve it. This was later denied by Oudie’s sister, Elisha, who said that his cellphone was found in North Vancouver.
“I feel so sorry when I think of it,” said Charles mother, Eugenia Oudie, who—despite the investigation by the police being officially concluded—isn’t entirely convinced that her son’s death was an accident. Instead, she theorizes that someone may have “pushed him in there.”
After five hours were spent not knowing officially what had happened, the coroner’s office spoke to the family and described to them a bizarre, disturbing image of Oudie’s remains as found by a passerby: “apparently [Oudie’s body] had been folded into the narrow shaft … and he was submerged in the drain up to his waist, head first.”
The Oudie family and residents of Kaslo Street—both seriously shaken by the grisly finding—created and maintained a small shrine consisting of a crucifix and a bouquet of flowers at the drain where Charles was found; the evening after the discovery of the body, a candlelight vigil was held by the Oudies with friends and neighbours at the memorial.
Online, the family is asking for assistance via Facebook with the 500 member group “Charles Oudie Investigation,” as well as a crowdfund to cover the cost of the burial and the travel expenses for his family, most of whom live in Manitoba. As of writing, the fundraiser—hosted on the crowd sourcing website gofundme—has raised nearly $4,000 towards its $5,000 goal.