October 19, 2018

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Mother looking for answers after daughter leaves hospital, found dead

<p>Eleanor Sinclair sits in the North End home of her parents. Her daughter Windy Gayle Sinclair's frozen body was found on the weekend after leaving the hospital where she was being treated.</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Eleanor Sinclair sits in the North End home of her parents. Her daughter Windy Gayle Sinclair's frozen body was found on the weekend after leaving the hospital where she was being treated.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/1/2018 (288 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The mother of a woman found dead and frozen on a city street says she’s angry with Winnipeg hospital staff, who she charges with not providing adequate care to her struggling daughter in the days before she died.

Windy Sinclair, a 29-year-old mother of four, was found Dec. 28 on the 300 block of Furby Street.

The following day, Eleanor Sinclair was informed of her daughter’s death – two years to the day after Windy’s father died. Two days later, on Jan. 1, one of Windy’s children turned five.

“Oh my God. I’m just devastated. It had been two years to the day that my husband passed, then my daughter, the same news on the same day. This was just so heartbreaking. How do you deal with something like that?” Eleanor Sinclair said Wednesday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/1/2018 (288 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The mother of a woman found dead and frozen on a city street says she’s angry with Winnipeg hospital staff, who she charges with not providing adequate care to her struggling daughter in the days before she died.

Windy Sinclair, a 29-year-old mother of four, was found Dec. 28 on the 300 block of Furby Street.

Supplied photo</p><p>Windy Gayle Sinclair.</p>

Supplied photo

Windy Gayle Sinclair.

The following day, Eleanor Sinclair was informed of her daughter’s death – two years to the day after Windy’s father died. Two days later, on Jan. 1, one of Windy’s children turned five.

"Oh my God. I’m just devastated. It had been two years to the day that my husband passed, then my daughter, the same news on the same day. This was just so heartbreaking. How do you deal with something like that?" Eleanor Sinclair said Wednesday.

The Winnipeg Police Service did not make the discovery of the body public until an inquiry from the Free Press was made Wednesday morning.

The events which led to the discovery of Windy Sinclair’s body, tucked away in a West Broadway back alley, began on Christmas Day.

The family was having Christmas dinner, when she began acting erratically, Eleanor Sinclair said, adding her daughter long-struggled with substance abuse and was known to take methamphetamine.

Paramedics were called to check on her well-being. The decision was made to transfer her to Seven Oaks General Hospital, where she’d undergo observation and testing before being discharged.

Eleanor Sinclair said she told paramedics she was concerned her daughter wouldn’t be able to make her way the roughly five kilometres back to the 200 block of Battery Street, but was assured she’d receive a cab voucher at the hospital.

RYAN THORPE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>A body was found this past weekend by a resident of an apartment complex on the 300 block of Furby Street.</p>

RYAN THORPE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

A body was found this past weekend by a resident of an apartment complex on the 300 block of Furby Street.

The last time she saw her daughter, she pushed a jacket and sweater into her arms, hoping to keep her warm.

In a statement released by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, a spokeswoman confirmed Windy Sinclair was taken to the hospital on Christmas Day.

She was in the process of receiving treatment when she gathered her belongings and slipped away, the spokeswoman said.

It is not known where she went between leaving the hospital the night of Dec. 25 and her frozen body being found downtown Dec. 28, some 10 km south of Seven Oaks.

The WRHA spokeswoman said, upon realizing she’d left, hospital staff attempted to call the number listed in Windy Sinclair’s file. Eleanor Sinclair countered she specifically told paramedics to call a different number, as the family wasn’t staying at home.

"I told them that. I told them they had the wrong number. I gave them (paramedics) the phone number for my parent’s home, but they didn’t call it," she said Wednesday.

"I’m really angry at them. Why didn’t they properly notify the next of kin? Why was she left alone? Why don’t they have procedures in place to help people who are trying to leave while still intoxicated?"

Eleanor Sinclair said she called the hospital Dec. 26, and was initially told her daughter had been treated and discharged, but said staff later admitted she’d slipped away. It was then she started to panic.

Her son, 22-year-old Robert Sinclair, went missing in Winnipeg in 2011. He was last seen in Osborne Village, but was later found dead. She said knowing Windy was also missing was like déjà-vu — and little more than reliving a nightmare.

"I was frantic. Me and my sister went driving around trying to find her in the Seven Oaks area. She had no way of coming home. We were driving around trying to find her. But she wasn’t seen or heard from," Eleanor Sinclair said.

They monitored social media accounts, reached out to friends and family, drove through areas of the city Windy was known to hang out, and called hospitals and remand centres, desperately trying to find her or trace her steps.

Then, just after 8 p.m. on Dec. 28, police knocked on her door. After being let inside, they informed her Windy had been found dead.

"They told me that she was found, that she froze and was deceased. They couldn’t tell me anything ‘till the medical examiner was done with the autopsy. They couldn’t even tell me which part of downtown she was found," she said.

Windy Sinclair was found in the narrow back lane separating two apartment buildings on the 300 block of Furby Street, between a fence and a shed, on an L-shaped slab of pavement. She was discovered by an area resident, who called police.

The WPS confirmed officers attended the scene Dec. 28, and worked in the area until Sunday.

Broken crime-scene tape tied to the fence could be seen flickering in the wind Wednesday morning, although no police presence remained. A piece of string, a board and a broken desk drawer were scattered around the area.

Winnipeg was suffering through a cold snap between her disappearance and discovery of the body. Temperatures dipped below -30 C and extreme weather warnings were in effect.

City police have confirmed they’re not treating the death as a homicide.

Eleanor Sinclair is scheduled to meet with WRHA officials Thursday to discuss what happened. What she wants most of all, she said, is for the autopsy to finish quickly so she can see her child again, before laying her to rest.

"I just want to see my daughter. It’s still very surreal, because they don’t even let me see her. I haven’t been able to see her at all."

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 2:28 PM CST: Updates headline

4:49 PM: Updates headline

8:55 PM: Full write through, adds photo

8:59 PM: updates photo caption

11:23 PM: Updates headline

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