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Family continues to seek answers following burial of young Lac La Biche woman

A Northern Indigenous family still seeking answers in their daughter's death. Police say the 21-year-old died of a drug overdose, but the investigation is ongoing. The family said they haven't seen her body since she passed away March 10.

* Caution: this article contains some graphic information.

LAC LA BICHE - Police have told Tytiana Janvier’s family that the 21-year-old’s death was from a drug overdose.  

Her father says police also said foul play was not suspected —  but that an investigation is continuing due to other factors linked to the discovery of a body in a Lac La Biche home two weeks ago. 

In the days since the body was found, several vigils and gatherings have been held to remember the young woman and draw attention to social and cultural factors her family say are part of the issue. 

The 21-year-old was laid to rest on Thursday afternoon at a private ceremony attended by friends and family. Grief-stricken following the service, Janvier’s mother told Lakeland This Week that police also told the family the casket could not be opened due to the condition of the remains. 

While she knows her daughter is now at peace, not being able to properly say goodbye, and not knowing what happened in the last moments of Tytiana's life has added to an already tragic situation, says Tavia Janvier. 

“I'm glad she’s put to rest. But what’s going to happen next? It’s not over yet and I’m not going to give up on what happened to her…We should have been able to identify her body, we didn’t get to see her at all, not once—I want to know what happened,” her mother said. 

Those same concerns are on the minds of other immediate family members. After a continuing police investigation, an autopsy, toxicology reports, media coverage, social media outcry and more, there are still no answers — and worse, the family has not seen the body, says Tytiana's great auntie Shana Laboucane. The closed-casket burial has generated even more concerns, she says.

“What we are having a hard time with is that it was a closed casket, it wasn’t open….the police’s answer was that she was totally decomposed. The family couldn't identify her at the funeral home. All they said is that it is Tytiana,” Laboucane said, explaining that the wait has been long and gruelling for the family. “I understand they're saying it’s an ongoing investigation but now she’s laid to rest. Now we need answers.” 

Tytiana’s father, Ashely Boucher, thinks he was the last family member to see Tytiana when he dropped her off at a house along the Lac La Biche lakeshore on Wednesday, a day and a half before the body was discovered.  

Boucher said the family began looking for Tytiana the next day as it was unusual for her to be out of contact for that long. He said they went to the house where he had dropped her off, but she wasn’t located. 

“I was the last one to speak to her because me and my dad dropped her off there Wednesday afternoon. We called the police and reported her missing…it’s not like her,” Boucher told Lakeland This Week

RCMP have released two updates on the body’s discovery. No charges have been laid in connection to the death and RCMP have yet to officially release the name of the deceased. In the last police update, the RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit was continuing to investigate the file. 

Plea for answers 

Family members and a large social media following are continuing to seek answers. Laboucane hopes someone out there knows more about what happened to her great-niece. 

“All I’d like to say—on behalf of Tavia and Ashley— is whoever is responsible for this, please come forward. Please let the family know so they can find peace,” she said. 

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