A man accused earlier this year of sexual assaults at the University of B.C. has died in Surrey pre-trial jail after a suspected drug overdose.
David Singh Tucker was found unresponsive in his cell in the B.C. government facility in the early hours of July 25, Barb McLintock of the B.C. Coroners’ Service confirmed Friday.
McLintock said her agency is investigating the death.
“We have not yet determined a clear cause and manner of death; investigation is still ongoing in that regard,” she said.
But sources have told the Sun that Tucker, 28, is believed to have overdosed on an unknown substance.
Contraband narcotics have been an on-going problem in both provincial and federal jails in B.C. Two years ago, a B.C. government report on safety in jails said that over a five-year period “there were 1,445 incidents involving drugs in our institutions.”
“The presence of drugs is a continuing issue that requires ongoing diligence and vigilance,” the report said.
B.C. Corrections media officer Amy Lapsley said in an email Friday that that the agency is also investigating Tucker’s death.
“Safety is B.C. Corrections’ top priority, and we are conducting a critical incident review to investigate the circumstances, relevant history, and possible contributing factors preceding this death,” she said in an emailed statement.
“We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual. Any custody-related death is a tragedy, and I can assure you that each and every one is taken extremely seriously.”
Tucker was charged on May 1 with break and enter and three counts each of sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and robbery. He also faced one count of wearing a mask with intent to commit an indictable offence.
He and a co-accused Yuan Zhi Gao, 23, were arrested the night before outside an apartment building in the 5700-block of Birney Avenue. Gao is charged with break and enter to commit robbery and has been released on bail.