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Raphael Andre received support before his death, inquest hears


The coroner's inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of Raphaël André, a man experiencing homelessness who was found dead in downtown Montreal, found that he had benefited from services, support and care on several occasions in the two years before his death.

The man of Innu origin, nicknamed Napa Raphael in his community - and referred to as such at coroner Stéphanie Gamache's inquest – was found dead on the morning of Jan. 17, 2021, in a portable toilet in downtown Montreal, during a public health emergency linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first witnesses to testify were police officers, who described the scene and the witnesses they interviewed as part of their investigation. The police investigation concluded that there was no third party involved in Napa Raphael's death.

Witnesses from healthcare and community organizations described the care, resources and services he had received since 2019.

The last witnesses heard on Monday made it possible to begin to retrace the last 24 hours of Napa Raphael's life, in particular his presence at the Open Door centre he attended on Saturday Jan. 16, the day before he was found dead.

He left the centre at around 2 p.m. on Saturday the 16th, and was given a sleeping bag with heat pads by a caregiver.

He then went to a convenience store with another person. He fell, and the paramedics were called.

From the outset, the coroner warned that her inquest would "not be a public inquiry into homelessness in its entirety," nor would she be looking for culprits.

"There will always be a certain amount of mystery surrounding Napa Raphael's death, since he is unfortunately no longer here to tell us about his last hours," concluded the coroner.

The hearings will be held from May 13 to 24, and then from June 3 to 14 in Longueuil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 13, 2024. Top Stories

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