Case of Inuk woman missing six days after release from custody subject of probe

MONTREAL — The disappearance of an Inuk woman for six days after she was released from Montreal police custody at about midnight is raising questions about whether authorities followed proper procedures.

Mina Iquasiak Aculiak, 48, was found Thursday, hours after police had released her photo to seek the public’s help in tracking her down.

They said she was doing well.

Iquasiak Aculiak, who hails from a northern Quebec village and doesn’t speak French or English, was in Montreal for a surgical procedure on her arm.

On July 27, she was reported missing at a Montreal rehabilitation centre before police discovered her in a drunken state and took her to a police station about 10 kilometres from the centre to sober up.

She was released late that night with a bus ticket.

Nakuset, the executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, questioned why police didn’t contact local groups before releasing Iquasiak Aculiak.

“There were a lot of options, why didn’t you use any of them?,” Nakuset said. “Why do you think it’s OK to let a person who is here for medical reasons, who has a catheter in her arm, who doesn’t speak English and doesn’t speak French, and just leave her?”

Nakuset said police could have called their own aboriginal liaison officer on staff, any number of native organizations in the city or even 911 for an ambulance to bring her back to the hospital.

Iquasiak Aculiak’s partner, Paul Tookalook, said in an interview before an off-duty officer found her he had been searching for her around the area where she was last seen.

He said she had no money, no phone, and no identification.

“She doesn’t know Montreal,” Tookalook said.

“Why didn’t they bring her back to Lindsay rehab?,” he added, referring to Gingras-Lindsay Rehabilitation Institute, where she had been a patient.

Police said the circumstances surrounding Iquasiak Aculiak’s release are now the subject of an administrative probe.

Mayor Valerie Plante told a news conference before the woman was located it was an opportunity to reflect on the procedure employed by authorities.

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