When Vanessa Falle was told to come pick up her stolen truck from the RCMP, she expected it would be in bad shape.
“But I didn’t think it would be a biohazard,” she said.
The Chevy Blazer was stolen from Falle’s farm on September 26, while her family slept.
The next morning the vehicle was used by two suspects to rob Madley’s General Store in Haines Junction. Its employee, Frank Parent, was beaten up and hit with bear spray during the robbery, and the store’s safe was stolen.
RCMP Cpl. Kim MacKellar was investigating the reported break-and-enter and assault at Madley’s when he encountered a suspect vehicle.
He gave chase and was shot at, according to the RCMP release.
MacKellar ended up being medevaced to Vancouver.
Christopher Cornell, 29, and Jessica Johnson, 21, both of Whitehorse, were charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, use of a firearm during flight from robbery, assault with a weapon, robbery, assault causing bodily harm, break-and-enter and theft, and possession of stolen property over $5,000.
Falle’s vehicle was taken to the RCMP lot in Whitehorse as evidence.
Now, more than a month later, she got it back.
“I had to have it towed 40 kilometres home,” she said.
At first glance, the Blazer looked bad.
But Falle wasn’t too surprised.
“They drove the hell out of it,” she said.
“The rear and side windows were smashed out, as were the headlights. And they blew up the engine.”
The big shock came when Falle opened the door and looked inside.
“There was vomit everywhere, a used needle on the dash, rubber bands for shooting up, and there was blood all over the back seat,” she said.
“It was a crime scene.”
Falle was “appalled.”
“I have young children,” she said.
“And it wasn’t like the cops didn’t know the needle was there, because there was fingerprinting powder all over the dash,” she said.
“There was no way they didn’t see the needle.”
Falle had a friend lined up who was going to use the vehicle for parts.
But now, she’s just planning on pulling off the tires and the new transmission and trashing it.
“I want that person to stay my friend,” said Falle.
And she wouldn’t wish this truck on her worst enemy.
“It’s garbage,” she said.
Dave’s Cleaning specializes in crime scene cleanup.
A year and a half ago, the Whitehorse company hired a specialist from Alberta to train its staff in trauma-scene cleanup and blood-borne pathogens.
It also purchased specific equipment and supplies.
But the company has yet to get its first crime-scene cleanup call.
“We’ve never been called for trauma scene cleanup,” said co-owner Carmen Semaschuk.
The RCMP hires Dave’s to clean its cop cars, if someone has vomited or something, she said.
“But they’ve never hired us to clean other people’s vehicles.
“I don’t know what the protocol would be for that.”
The RCMP took eight to 10 used needles out of Falle’s Blazer, said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Tom Wyers.
“And if a needle was missed, then a needle was missed,” he said.
“Those needles are small.”
The RCMP would never return a vehicle to a member of the public with used needles in it, added Wyers.
“That’s totally irresponsible.
“But if one was missed, that was an unfortunate oversight, and we apologize.”
The RCMP remove needles because they’re “a biohazard,” said Wyers.
But blood and vomit are also biohazards.
“That’s true,” said Wyers.
“But needles can prick you.”
The RCMP “doesn’t clean out blood and vomit,” he said.
“You’d have to get that professionally cleaned.
“It’s not the responsibility of police to clean that out of the vehicles.
“Our job is to gather evidence.”
Falle is not sure what to do next.
She’s considering calling the RCMP to ask about the vomit, blood and used needle.
She’s also considering calling victim services, after “hearing through the grapevine” that Cornell is out of jail.
“Knowing that guy’s been out here and seen our vehicles, and we live on this isolated property … I just don’t feel as safe as I used to before this happened,” she said.
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