Corey John Scherbey’s 2011 death in Chilliwack has been ruled “accidental” due to cocaine and alcohol intoxication.
That conclusion after a BC Coroners Service inquest this week confirms the original report but will be a disappointment to Scherbey’s parents Ed and Gladys Scherbey who have been fighting for more than nine years to have his death declared a homicide.
“I think it’s murder and that’s it,” Ed told this reporter in 2013 in an interview at his home, surrounded by photos of the Corey while he was alive, but also gruesome photos of the scene in the 38-year-old’s house where his body was found on a Monday after a hot August weekend.
The inquest started Monday (Nov. 2) with the jury decision rendered on Thursday (Nov. 5). Corey Scherbey’s mother Gladys Scherbey testified Monday at the Burnaby Coroners’ Court in a hearing that was broadcast using Microsoft Teams.
She first told the jury what kind of a person Corey was.
“He was loving, he was gentle, he was a super person,” she said. “I’m not saying this because he was just my son but he was my best friend as well.”
She was then asked about the details of her finding Corey’s body in his house on Aug. 22, 2011.
He wasn’t answering his phone or his doorbell, so Gladys went into his Strathcona Road house. There in his living room was a huge pool of dried blood on the floor, and Corey on his knees in front of the couch, face down.
“My heart sank,” she said on Monday. “I said ‘Corey, Corey, are you alright? Answer me, answer me Corey.’”
She said she went behind him, and her instinct was to put her arms around him to lift him up.
“All I could see was the back of his head. His hands were stretched out…. I pulled him against my chest and gently laid him down. When I laid him down, I looked … his face was dark. I saw no hair on the top of his head… his nose was white. I looked on both sides of his head. His right ear seemed to be missing, his left ear was completely flat.”
Gladys and Ed have been fighting for years against the RCMP’s conclusion that 38-year-old Corey died of a drug overdose.
A pathologist at the time determined the cause of death to be “acute combined cocaine and ethanol intoxication,” something the coroner confirmed Nov. 5.
The Scherbey’s insisted that Corey did not use drugs or even drink, and they pointed to a number of odd circumstances surrounding the crime scene, and events after his death.
There was the cardboard box found in his house with the words written on it: “Better be a funeral.”
Then there was a cryptic, typewritten note they received years after his death.
“Shakepeare [sic] said: ‘Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned,’” the note started. “That’s the kind of homicide is [sic] was, a scorned woman! Those who know who it was, belong to too tight a group to say a word!
“I think your son Corey decided too late to ‘back off’ and it jeopardized his well-being-his life!” The note was signed “a Reader of The CHWK Times.”
While the RCMP never admitted any wrongdoing, the Scherbeys accused it all along. Finally, in late 2018, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki agreed the investigation was not “reasonably thorough.”
That same year, one B.C. Supreme Court justice called for a review, and another suggested the Minister of Public Safety should consider an inquest.
The pandemic delayed the inquest from the spring until Nov. 2.
In the two-page verdict posted online on Nov. 5, the medical cause of death is reported as “acute combined ethanol and cocaine intoxication,” and the classification of death is ruled “accidental.”
The inquest jury’s single recommendations to RCMP headquarters (E-division) in B.C.: “Review policy or procedures to ensure the collection of all possible evidence in death investigations.”
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