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Fort Simpson man found dead on riverbank
Ongoing investigation will include an autopsy

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 8, 2010

LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON - A RCMP investigation is ongoing into the death of a Fort Simpson resident.

NNSL photo/graphic

Members of the RCMP stand on the banks of the Mackenzie River in Fort Simpson on July 2 just above where the body of a local resident was found. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

A passerby found Thomas Poitras, commonly known by the nickname Pork Chop, deceased on the banks of the Mackenzie River on July 2 at approximately 9 a.m. Poitras, 74, was found between 100 and 101 Ave along Mackenzie Drive.

The Fort Simpson RCMP in conjunction with Yellowknife Major Crimes Unit are investigating the death. Members of the crimes unit arrived in the village midday on Friday. An RCMP dog and handler were also brought in.

Major crimes is called in any time there's a sudden death that can't be readily attributed to natural causes, said Sgt. Ron Prangnell of the Fort Simpson detachment.

"Until otherwise indicated every sudden death is a suspicious death," he said.

RCMP trucks blocked off a section of Mackenzie Drive for most of the day. Traffic was rerouted around the detour but many drivers slowing down or stopping to watch the RCMP proceedings.

After it was brought up from the bank in the early evening the body was taken to the airport. The territory's Office of the Coroner has ordered an autopsy.

Prangnell declined to comment on how long the body might have been lying on the riverbank. The autopsy findings will reveal some of the answers, he said.

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