A young Victoria man who died after he was likely seeking warmth in a recycling bin was very funny and very loved, his family said Wednesday.
“We are struggling. So many people have this vision in their heads of what it means to be homeless,” his aunt, Shawna Bradley, wrote in a text.
“Society in general sees homeless people as somehow unimportant or uncared for or unloved.”
But the 25-year-old did have a home and his family was willing to help, said Bradley.
“He was raised with love and care by a small and caring family,” she texted.
The identity of the young man, who had been living on the streets for about five years, has not been made public.
His body was discovered on the morning of Nov. 12 when a recycling truck returned to Waste Connections of Canada on Keating Cross Road in Central Saanich.
The truck had picked up the contents of about six recycling bins in downtown Victoria.
His family is angry and frustrated that nothing has been done to prevent this kind of incident, the second one in Victoria in two years, said Bradley.
“We intend to keep asking for locked bins. Regardless of whether or not people should be in them, it’s happening everywhere,” said Bradley. “We can lock bins to protect wildlife, but not our vulnerable people?”
The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating to determine the man’s cause of death. They are also investigating the 2018 death of a man in his 40s who died under similar circumstances.
“I know there have been parallels drawn between this death and one from Aug. 1, 2018, where it’s believed there were similar circumstances,” said spokesman Andy Watson. “Obviously, that’s something for our investigation to officially determine. But I know police have ruled out any suspicious activity on this, so it’s fully in our hands to investigate.”
The Coroners Service will attempt to answer how, where, when and by what means the man died. The Coroners Service could also make recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances in the future, said Watson.
“We’ll have to determine what contributing factors were there, what things led to this man ending up where he did.”
A cause of death has not been officially determined.
Bradley is asking people to be empathetic and sympathetic before they judge her nephew.
“They don’t know his story. A compassionate and reasonable person shouldn’t have to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand. They should just know the shoes must be damn uncomfortable.”