The Coroner’s Inquest looking in to the death of Cain Wapass learned more about what caused his death Tuesday.

Wapass, who was 28, was found unresponsive in a cell at the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation RCMP detachment in 2020.

The first witness the inquest heard from Tuesday morning was the doctor who performed the autopsy on Wapass. Forensic Pathologist Dr. Derek Musgrove testified he observed that Wapass was an obese man. The forensic pathologist as well noted he did not see any major injuries on Wapass’s body. During his internal examination the doctor explained he noticed there was damage to the liver which is generally found in people who are obese and abuse alcohol.

The forensic pathologist explained as part of his examination he as well took samples of blood, urine and tissue which he analysed. The analysis found Wapass had methadone in his system along with anti allergy medications and anti seizure medication. However, Dr. Musgrove said Wapass’s death was caused by complications from alcohol withdraw, specifically delirium tremens, which is a complication related to chronic alcoholism.

“It’s a complication, one of the most severe complications,” he said.

Musgrove said delirium tremens can lead to a person not breathing properly which can in turn lead to a person’s death. When it comes to treating somebody who is dealing with the complication, Musgrove said it is generally something which is done in an intensive care setting.

“The recommendation is to get them to a clinician,” he said.

The doctor added people who are dealing with delirium tremens will often experience visual and auditory hallucinations.

The five person jury also was presented with audio recordings from 9-11 calls and an investigators interview done with Wapass’s step father Robert Durocher. The recordings were played for the jury as Durocher has passed away.

The inquest was told a number of 9-11 calls were made by Durocher in relation to Wapass. The first call was for an ambulance, which responded, however medics were limited in what they could do as Wapass declined treatment. Two more calls were made, with Wapass being taken from Durocher’s home after the second call as he was acting aggressively towards his step father and damaged property in the house. Durocher reported his step son was seeing things that were not there.

“He kept seeing a woman and two children,” he said.

While speaking to an officer from the Moose Jaw Police Service who was investigating the death of Wapass in police custody, Durocher voiced how frustrating it was trying to get help for his step son, who he said was obviously in need of medical help.

Another witness heard from Tuesday afternoon was Kristine Tweedie, who was one of the RCMP officers who responded to Durocher’s house on both occasions. When Tweedie entered Wapass’s bedroom during the second call she noticed empty alcohol containers and also smelled it on Wapass himself. The officer said Wapass told her he had been drinking and had not taken any drugs like meth. In her testimony Tweedie said she had thought Wapass might be high on meth given the fact he was hallucinating and had used the drug in the past.

Much attention at the inquest Tuesday was focused on alcohol withdraw and its symptoms, along with how much witnesses knew about the condition. Coroner’s Council Robin Ritter questioned Jill McVicker, the second officer who attended Durocher’s house along with Tweedie and asked her about how much she knew about alcohol withdraw, to which she testified she did not know much.

“I don’t have a lot of knowledge,” she said.

The two police officers were the last ones to give testimony at the inquest. Coroner William Davern is now set to give the jury their instructions Wednesday morning before they start their deliberations.

(Top Photo. Cain Gabriel Wapass – photo courtesy of Marshalls Funeral Service.)