first_imgRocelyn Gabriel, 20, was found dying at a recycling depot in Portage la Prairie, Man., Sunday. She later died in hospital. Gabriel’s family is upset with the RCMP over the initial handling of her case. Facebook photoBy Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsIn her final hours early Sunday morning, Rocelyn Gabriel desperately tried to flag down passing cars before darting back behind bins at the recycling depot in Portage la Prairie, Man., according to her aunt Loretta Traverse.Gabriel, 20, entered the depot at about 4:45 a.m. Sunday and was found nearly frozen to death at 8 a.m. in the snow. She later died at the Portage General Hospital.The RCMP said in a terse statement that Gabriel died from frigid temperatures that morning. The temperature with the wind-chill dropped to -34C at the time. Gabriel was wearing only a sweater when she was found.The RCMP statement said “foul play is not suspected.”Gabriel was a recent high school graduate and was planning to study nursing.Traverse said RCMP investigators who arrived when Gabriel was found did not secure the area as a possible crime scene.“They did nothing, they did not close off the area. They weren’t doing their jobs and that leads me to believe, well, I don’t like bringing up the Aboriginal fact,” said Traverse. “She was indeed an Aboriginal young lady. She didn’t end up there because she wanted to pass out.”Traverse said she doesn’t believe Gabriel went to the depot alone.“Someone took her there,” she said.Traverse said Gabriel was at a house party the night before she died. Gabriel’s house sits between the house where the party was held and the depot. The location of the house party is about three kilometres from the depot.“Nobody walks miles through their community to end up at a secluded location, bypassing her home, her cousins, everyone lives there,” said Traverse. “She was cold, she would have knocked on the first door to get that kind of help. She didn’t have that opportunity.”Gabriel went to the party wearing a coat. Her cousin and sister also attended the party but did not see her leave, said Traverse.Traverse said she asked RCMP Cpl. Darcy Paul why they weren’t treating the death as suspicious.“When I asked him why they didn’t do a rape kit or investigate further, his words were, ‘We didn’t think there was a need for that,’” said Traverse. “It’s common sense, if you find a young lady somewhere in an industrial area, I would think that is the first thing you would do.”Traverse said the RCMP told her they saw footage of Gabriel captured by the depot’s security cameras.“I am told she hid behind some bins and would run out to try to flag vehicles to stop,” said Traverse.Traverse also said the RCMP told her that Gabriel’s purse, which contained her cell phone, was found down the road from the depot.The RCMP requested an autopsy which has not yet been completed.Traverse said she is frustrated with the RCMP’s initial handling of Gabriel’s case. She said investigators have yet to conduct interviews in relation to the death and that the lead investigator on the file is now on holiday.A spokesperson for the RCMP said the case is still under investigation, but that the officers’ initial reaction to the scene would have been based on years of experience.“We have police with a lot of experience who are arriving on scene and they are going with their reaction on that,” said RCMP spokesperson Tara Seel.Seel said she would be looking into Traverse’s belief that the lead investigator was going on holidays.Seel said RCMP investigators have interviewed people who were in contact with Gabriel that night before her death.“There are interviews being done. I can’t confirm how many or who we spoke to,” said Seel.A candlelight vigil is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. local time at the depot where Gabriel was found.On Dec. 24, 2013, Gabriel posted a photo of a highway at dusk on her Facebook page with words inscribed across the front: “Sooner or later the things you love, you lose.”On Sunday, several of her Facebook friends posted messages of sorrow beneath it.“Never thought it would be you,” wrote one Facebook [email protected]@JorgeBarreralast_img