'I'm not giving up': Sister of woman found dead in March speaking out
KITCHENER -- The sister of a woman who was found dead in her Brantford home nearly nine months ago is speaking out about her death.
Shannon MacDougall's family said they learned her death was suspicious from a funeral director, rather than from police. They're wondering why Brantford police didn't release more information publicly until this week.
MacDougall's sister, Caity Bates, said she had questions for police after MacDougall was found dead in her Mintern Avenue home in March.
"The police wouldn't tell us anything," Bates said. "Right away, as upset as I was, I said 'Was she beaten up, did she look like she'd been in a fight, did I look like something had gone wrong, or did it look like she did it to herself?' And they just said 'It could have been a suicide, we don't know.' They didn't give us much detail."
She said the funeral director spoke up when they asked for an open casket.
"He kind of looked at me like you don't want that, and I thought why, I wasn't told of anything wrong," Bates said. "They said, 'She has multiple injuries, she looked like she had been in a struggle.'"
Bates said the funeral director told them MacDougall had bruising and a stab wound on her side.
"I could see the bruising on her knuckles where it looked like she had been defending herself," Bates said.
Bates said police deemed MacDougall's death a homicide not long after it happened, but a public advisory wasn't issued until Monday.
Police said they didn't believe there was a threat to public safety. They're now asking for help piecing together MacDougall's last days.
Bates said she's worried details that could help solve the case have already been lost.
"Months and months go by and people forget," Bates said.
"I feel like why, eight months later, why?" she added.
No arrests have been made.
"At any time, on any day, I could have walked by the person who took my sister's life and not even known it," Bates said. "I feel scared too because they're still out there."
Bates said her sister had struggled with drug addiction, but was also a caring person with two children. She worked as a nurse and was known for her laugh.
Brantford police declined to answer questions, but said in a statement there is a dedicated team of officers working to solve the case.
"We are confident that the decisions made by investigators to protect the integrity of the investigation were necessary and thank the family for their continued involvement," the statement said in part.
The family is still hoping for some closure.
"She was 37 years old, she still had her whole life to figure out what she wanted to do," Bates said. "I believe that, I just want people to know I'm not giving up until I find out what happened."