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Victoria police not reopening investigation into man’s 1981 death while in custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found in his jail cell
Stanley Fischer, right, died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)

Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic subject matter.

The Victoria Police Department said Thursday they won’t be reopening the case of a man who died while in VicPD cells in 1981.

The family of Stanley Fischer – whose death was ruled to be from asphyxia after he was found hanging in his VicPD cell on Nov. 15, 1981 – wanted his case to be reinvestigated after calling the official cause of death into question last month.

A spokesperson for VicPD said the department completed a review of Fischer’s case and “did not find any information to factually support the concerns raised by Mr. Fischer’s family.”

“We have now had an opportunity to share our findings with the family and wish to thank them for their patience while we completed our review,” the spokesperson stated in an email response to Black Press Media. “Our thoughts are with them as they continue to mourn their uncle’s death 40 years ago.”

READ: Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Mark Fischer, Stanley’s nephew, said last month he believes the cause of his uncle’s death was more nefarious than the official ruling suggested, alleging that Stanley was possibly murdered in his jail cell before his death was staged to look like a suicide.

A coroner’s inquest said Fischer was found hanging by the neck in his cell by a hand-torn strip of police-issued blanket. That happened just hours after he was arrested.

Mark Fischer said there were many discrepancies between what the inquest concluded and what it heard during testimony from Richard Fischer, who had outlined the events of the night his brother was arrested and later died.

READ: Community survey brings concerns to light, supports action on improving Victoria’s quality of life

Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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