Author Topic: Mark Mitchell - 26 - Feb 16, 2013 - Undetermined Death - Victoria BC  (Read 1618 times)

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Victim in 2013 Johnson Street fire died of stab wound: coroner

JANUARY 7, 2015 10:37 AM
UPDATED: JANUARY 7, 2015 01:25 PM

Emily Morin and Mark Mitchell died in a Johnson Street house fire in February 2013.

One of the three victims of the fatal fire in a Johnson Street home in February 2013 died of a stab wound to the back, according to a B.C. Coroners report released today.

But Victoria police maintain there was no foul play involved, which leaves questions as to how Mark Jeffrey Mitchell obtained those injuries.

Mitchell, 26, was on the porch where the fire started from a smoldering cigarette in a couch. While an autopsy found Mitchell had burn injuries to his entire body, the cause of death was a two-centimetre-wide stab wound in his back that punctured his lung and caused internal bleeding. He also had a three-centimetre stab wound on the left forearm.

No weapon consistent with the stab wounds was found at the scene, the coroners report said.

“The potential exists that the wounds resulted from an altercation with an unknown person or were accidentally caused in some manner when Mitchell entered the burning porch,” the report said. “As it is not possible to reach a conclusion as to how these injuries were sustained, this death is classified as undetermined.”

Victoria police have ruled out foul play in the fire at 1320 Johnson St., which is believed to have been caused by a cigarette dropped in the couch by a guest attending a Valentine’s Day party at the house.

Officers had interviewed 30 to 40 people who were at the party during the evening and conducted a thorough forensic analysis of the scene, police said.

"Our investigation concluded that this was a tragic incident," lead Victoria police investigator Sgt. Jamie McRae said today in a statement. "While Mr. Mitchell's injuries included puncture wounds as outlined in the coroner's report, our investigation concluded that there is no evidence of any foul play related to this tragedy."

Georgia Paige Klap, 22, and Emily Grace Morin, 20, also died from smoke inhalation as a result of the fire on Feb. 16, 2013. The coroners report classified both deaths as accidental. 

The report also said Mitchell went to his bedroom to sleep after midnight but came downstairs to talk to friends about 2:30 a.m. before heading back upstairs. Most of the party guests left around 3 a.m. and it’s not clear why Mitchell would have gone back downstairs to the porch.

About 4 a.m., one of the residents walked out to her car to get her iPod and did not see any signs of smoke on the porch. About half an hour later, she heard crackling sounds coming from the porch and went downstairs to find the porch engulfed in flames. She tried to throw water on the fire and other residents heard her screaming. Those who did escape the house did so through other doors and windows.

Someone called 911 and police arrived within two minutes to help evacuate people. Firefighters arrived shortly after police to start battling the fire.

Firefighters found Klap unresponsive and lying on the floor near a window in an upstairs bedroom. They carried her out of the house and paramedics started first aid measures as she was rushed to Victoria General Hospital where she died at 4 p.m. that day.

Morin was found unresponsive and lying on the floor of her bedroom, where the fire had burned partially through from the porch below. Paramedics tried to resuscitate Morin but she was pronounced dead on arrival at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

The coroners report also found the home had no working smoke detector.

Morin and Mitchell were a couple, described as ambitious and passionate about their future careers.

Both graduated from the horticulture technician program at Camosun College in 2010 and worked on organic farms in the province as part of the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program, known as WWOOF.

Klap attended the University of Victoria and was interested in travel and other cultures. After graduating from high school, she spent a year at the Youth Initiative Program in Sweden.

© Copyright Times Colonist

**edited to remove link as it was not for the article above
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 10:46:42 AM by debbiec »