The RCMP confirmed the deaths of the Desmond family during a press conference in Antigonish on January 4. Pictured is Ins. Lynn Young fielding questions.

HALIFAX: Last week, the province’s medical examiner decided against an inquiry in relation to the death of Lionel Desmond and three others.

Ret. Cpl. Lionel Desmond

Sarah Gillis, media relations officer with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, stated the medical examiner did not recommend a “medical examiner inquiry under Section 26 of the Fatalities Investigations Act in this case. A medical examiner inquiry would not appropriately address any potential systemic issues or concerns in these cases.”

Aaliyah Desmond

On January 6, Antigonish RCMP confirmed four people passed away as a result of a triple homicide and suicide on January 3 in Upper Big Tracadie. The victims were 10-year-old Aaliyah Desmond, 52-year-old Brenda Desmond, 31-year-old Shanna Desmond, and 33-year-old Lionel Desmond.

Shanna Desmond
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As part of the investigation, reported the RCMP, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Office conducted autopsies confirming all four individuals died as a result of gunshot wounds. Further investigation also confirmed Lionel’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted and, as a result, confirmed the incident was a triple homicide and suicide.

Following the incident, family members called for a public inquiry regarding treatment Desmond received prior to the incident.

“In the past, where Dr. [Matthew] Bowes [who serves as Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner] has been concerned about the quality of care delivered to a patient, his practice has been to flag these cases for the Department of Health and Wellness, so that the lessons learned may be disseminated to policy makers and other interested parties,” stated Gillis in an email. “Autopsy records are provided to the nearest relative. The nearest relative will receive the medical examiner report.”

Brenda Desmond