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Mother searching for answers after son dies in OPP custody


The province’s Special Investigations Unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 36-year-old man in a Rockwood, Ont. police cell.

According a media release, Ontario Provincial Police arrested the man for a minor offence on Tuesday. He was put in a police cell at the North Wellington Operations Centre in Teviotdale before being transferred to the South Wellington Operations Centre in Rockwood that same night.

The South Wellington OPP facility in Rockwood Ont. on July 11, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV News)

On Wednesday morning, the SIU said he was in medical distress. First aid was administered and emergency services transported him to a Guelph hospital. The SIU said he was pronounced dead there before noon.

Nathaniel Schofield's mother said she learned her son, a father of six, had died while she was in court awaiting his bail hearing. Faye Dzikewich told CTV she did not speak to Schofield after his arrest, but had asked the OPP to tell him that she would be in court for his bail hearing the next day.

“I never heard a word from my son, not even asking if I could be a surety. Nobody heard from him. It was very mysterious.”

Nathaniel Schofield in an undated photograph. (Source: Faye Dzikewich)

Dzikewich said she had no idea something was wrong as she sat in court on Wednesday.

“I sat there all morning watching everybody else in the bail court.”

Dzikewich said she stayed there for hours, waiting for her son to appear.

“Now it’s three o’clock. While I’m sitting there in the courtroom, a phone call came in over the audio, everyone could hear that was present. It was Rockwood OPP. They called to let the judge know that my son, Nathaniel Schofield, would not be present. They said that there was a medical emergency and he had been rushed to Guelph General Hospital. They made it sound like he was still alive.”

Dzikewich then left the courtroom.

“Before I even came out of the front doors of the courthouse, I had a call from the Special Investigations Unit. They told me I needed to stay here and wait for them. I was panicking. I was screaming. I knew something was wrong,” she said.

Shortly after Dzikewich received a call from Schofield’s girlfriend, who told Dzikewich that her son was dead.

“I fell in the parking lot. I couldn’t get up. I was hysterical.”

Nathaniel Schofield in an undated photograph. (Source: Faye Dzikewich)

Dzikewich told CTV News when representatives from the SIU arrived they confirmed Schofield’s death.

“I found out later that while I was sitting in that courtroom all afternoon my son was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Guelph General Hospital at 11:20 a.m.”

Dzikewich said Schofield's body was taken the coroner's office in Toronto before she was even notified or allowed to see his body. An autopsy is set to take place on Friday.

She has hired a lawyer and started a GoFundMe to pay for a second autopsy.

“I would want him to know that I am doing everything in my power to find out what happened to him. I would want him to know that I’m fighting for justice and I won’t stop,” Dzikewich vowed.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the SIU. Top Stories

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