COCAINE PSYCHOSIS CITED AS CAUSE OF DEATH
The inquest into the death of Lyndon Charles Valan wrapped up last
Coroner Beth Larcombe was presiding over the case which was set to lay
out all of the facts in the death that occurred in police custody last
Forensic pathologist Dr. Daniel Straathof performed the autopsy on
Valan and concluded that Valan suffered from cocaine psychosis, which
includes symptoms such as aggression, disturbing hallucinations,
paranoia and mania. Straathof concluded that Valan died after taking
cocaine and ending up in a cocaine-induced delirium which, along with
a pre-existing enlarged heart and thickened heart wall may have been
contributing factors in the man's death.
Valan died November 29, 2003, after he was arrested by Sidney North
The incident leading up to Valan's death began with two 9-1-1 calls
from a home on Melville Drive to the Sidney North Saanich RCMP just
before 1:30 in the morning of November 29, informing police about a
disturbance involving a male resident of the home.
When police arrived, 32-year-old Valan was exhibiting "extremely
erratic and irrational behaviour," according to RCMP Sgt. Wayne
Conley. Valan brandished a weapon out a window of the home, and
eventually came to the door and confronted police with a box cutter in
one hand and a kitchen knife in the other.
Valan was taken into custody and handcuffed by officers at the scene.
Because Valan was exhibiting behaviour that appeared irrational and
delusional, police called an ambulance. While they waited for the
ambulance to arrive, Valan again became agitated and violent and had
to be restrained by police.
The three men, two women jury heard testimony that with four officers
struggling to control him, the agitated Valan was still able to rise
to a kneeling position. Then suddenly, he stopped breathing.
During transport to Saanich Peninsula Hospital Valan went into cardiac
arrest and later died in the hospital's emergency ward.