The mother of a murdered Fort Chipewyan woman has filed a complaint against the Leduc RCMP, claiming the police failed to perform an adequate investigation into her daughter’s disappearance and subsequent death, which remains unsolved.
Vivian Tuccaro, whose daughter Amber Alyssa Tuccaro went missing in August 2010 and whose remains were found near Leduc, Alta. in September 2012, filed an official complaint with the Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP in Ottawa last Thursday.
The complaint alleges several instances of misconduct on the part of individual members of the Leduc RCMP, including minimizing the significance of Amber’s missing persons case, destroying evidence and withholding information from the family.
“We need answers to a lot of the questions that we have, and also accountability for the mismanagement of my daughter’s investigation,” Tuccaro told The Journal.
According to the complaint, an RCMP spokesperson commented in the Edmonton Sun in September 2010, just weeks after her disappearance, that there was no reason to believe Tuccaro was in any danger and that police knew she was in the Edmonton area.
Two weeks later, Tuccaro was taken off the missing persons list contrary to advice given by Vivian, who said she had to fight for weeks to get Amber’s name back on the list.
Tuccaro also alleges officers destroyed evidence that could have been useful in the investigation. She said RCMP failed to follow proper procedures in collecting and storing Amber’s personal property obtained from the Nisku Inn, where she was last seen before entering an unknown vehicle.
“Through either carelessness or neglect and a failure of supervision, the personal property of Amber Tuccaro, as potential evidence in a serious crime, was destroyed by Leduc Detachment personnel,” the complaint reads.
Other parts of the complaint allege disrespectful communication between the officers and the family and the withholding of information about the case. It also claims officers failed to perform or follow up on interviews with persons of interest based on “racial bias.”
The criminal investigation is still ongoing by Project KARE, an investigational unit created to examine the deaths of “high risk” missing persons in Alberta. Their work is appreciated and not subject to the complaint, according to the submission.
Tuccaro said she believes her daughter’s Aboriginal background influenced the inadequacy of the investigation.
“Since my daughter went missing, I never gave up, and I’ve been talking to other families of missing and murdered daughters, and a lot of them get easily intimidated. But my thing is, this is my daughter and she’s not here to defend herself or get justice, so I have to do it. Hopefully by me doing this, I can help other families come forward and know that they’re not alone in this,” she said.
“We’re not alone, we just have to reach out and the support’s there.”