Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Death ends dream

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will not make any direct statements concerning the Fonteece case because we lack the necessary information to effectively analyse the charges of assisted suicide that were placed upon Peter Fonteece.

We are updating the current information about the case.

The Toronto Sun published an article on February 10, 2009, by Chris Doucette on the case.

Here is the text of the article:
Death ends dream

A Southern Ontario couple's plans to head out west to get a new lease on life ended in a woman's death in a Thunder Bay motel room.

And now her husband is accused of helping the woman kill herself.

Peter Bernard Fonteece, 46, of Waterloo, called 911 around 6 a.m. last Friday and said his wife, Yanisa, was dead in a motel room, Thunder Bay Police said yesterday. Paramedics arrived at the Super 8 soon after and found the 38-year-old woman in bed with no vital signs.

It's unclear how long the woman was dead, but paramedics made no attempt to resuscitate her.

"(Peter) was present in the room," executive officer Chris Adams said. "He was co-operative and he was taken into custody at that point."

He said the husband was charged with assisted suicide and criminal negligence causing death.

"We're still trying to get a handle on her background, and his as well," he said.

Investigators believe the Waterloo couple were heading out west, possibly to B.C., in search of work.

"It appears, as with many people who are unemployed, they may have been looking for opportunities in Western Canada," Adams said.

"(But) their car broke down a week ago," he said, explaining the couple had been staying in Thunder Bay since then.

Adams wouldn't comment on any possible health issues the dead woman may have suffered from. And he offered little insight into the assisted suicide charge her husband now faces.

"It's a rare charge certainly," Adams admitted. "But based on the evidence presented to us at the time, our investigators felt they had enough grounds to lay the two charges."

Yanisa's death could rekindle the long-standing debate over whether Canada should legalize assisted suicide. But with so few details of the circumstances available, both opponents and proponents of the controversial issue were reluctant to comment.

Alex Schadenberg, of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said it's understandable in the current "economic downturn" that people could become desperate.

"But the answer is not to commit suicide," he said. "The answer is to have the proper support system in place."

Martin Frith, of Dying With Dignity, said it is legal to watch someone end their own life but helping in any way, no matter how small, can result in charges.

Police have so far been unable to track down relatives.

Anyone who knows the couple is urged to call police at 1-807-684-1200.

Link to the article in the Toronto Sun:

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