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Testimony wraps up at Zong inquiry


The inquest into the death of Freeman Zong, 26, of Dauphin, at Dauphin Court House wrapped up last week.
Zong died while in custody at Dauphin Correctional Centre (DCC), July 14, 2016. A medical examiner determined his death was by suicide and under the Fatality Inquiries Act, an inquest was called.
In the second week, Provincial Court Judge Christine Harapiak heard testimony from Zong’s girlfriend at the time of his death, Taylor Marie Mancheese, Apr. 8.
Mancheese confirmed she and Zong were in a relationship six months prior to July 2016.
Inquest counsel Alan Semchuk had asked Mancheese to share her memory of a July 2016 incident that took place, involving a shot being fired, which brought the police to a residence on Third Ave. in Dauphin.
Mancheese explained there was a pre-birthday party for Zong at the house, that he had become jealous, because she was talking to his friends and he brought a shotgun into the living room.
While his brother Frasier Chartrand tried to take it away, the gun discharged into the couch Mancheese was sitting on, approximately eight inches away from her left ear, making a hole in the furniture.
Mancheese admitted she and others at the party were drinking and she did not remember all that occurred that evening, but after the shot, Zong left the residence, returning later.
She did not recall whether Zong had cut himself that evening or how he had injured his right arm.
Semchuk asked Mancheese whether she ever saw Zong using drugs, which she confirmed, explaining he had injected it into his arm with a syringe.
Mancheese told Semchuk she felt Zong acted differently when he was using drugs and had been suicidal in the past.
She confirmed seeing Zong cut himself near a vein in the crook of his elbow, as well.
On the day of his death, Zong had called Mancheese several times. During one of those phone calls, she said, she ended her relationship with him.
Mancheese also recalled Zong had talked about harming himself, while on the phone.
“I didn’t think he would actually do it, because he was in jail,” she said.
Mancheese learned about Zong’s death through Facebook.
That afternoon Judge Harapiak heard from LPN Valerie Ogryzlo, who works in the medical area of Dauphin Correctional Centre (DCC).
Ogryzlo saw Zong the morning of July 14, 2016, as he had a wound on his right arm, which needed medical attention.
Ogryzlo reported Zong had removed the six stitches on his arm prematurely, causing the wound to open and arrangements were made to send him to the outpatient department in Dauphin that morning.
The part-time nurse confirmed a note on Zong’s hospital chart that stated the inmate requested Wellbutren, primarily used to treat depression and to support stopping smoking. But the request was denied, because he had a history of sharing it with other inmates, in the past.
Ogryzlo admitted she was shocked to hear Zong was dead, as he showed no indications to her that he would commit suicide.
The court also heard audio recordings of the phone calls Zong made prior to his death, to his father Franklin Chartrand, and Mancheese. The court also heard audio recordings of a phone call his brother Frasier Chartrand had made.
The inquest wrapped up Apr. 12, with testimonies from several more people, including the medical examiner and acting DCC superintendent David Shewchuk.
Judge Harapiak is mandated to have her report from the inquest completed within six months.

M. A. Nyquist