When Tina Van Akker’s 13-year-old daughter went to get the mail from their community box in Comox Monday, she never expected to be involved in a police investigation.
Upon returning to her home along with her sister, Van Akker’s daughter asked if the family knew anyone from Quebec, as indicated by the return address on the package.
When Van Akker said no, she saw her daughter was holding the contents of an opened package – a baggie with a white powdered substance along with a second baggie containing an orange flower charm.
“I took it from her and put it on a paper towel – it was pretty alarming. (Whoever sent it) knew our address and sent it specifically to my daughter. They even had the correct spelling of her name.”
Van Akker called the Comox Valley RCMP non-emergency line and while waiting for an officer to arrive, began searching online for the return address.
“We did some research and found out that the address was attached to a woman who was murdered in Quebec five years ago,” she explained.
She relayed the information to police, who indicated it would be best to throw out the envelope and its contents.
“I was very uneasy with that – it could be coffee whitener or it could be something else in the bag.”
Van Akker decided rather than discard the package, she would take it to the Comox Valley RCMP station for testing.
“Because we didn’t know what it was, I wouldn’t want for it to end up in our landfill. I also want to know why the package was directed to a 13-year-old. Alarm bells just went off.”
She acknowledged the package could be a prank, but added someone specifically chose their address and name.
“Whoever it was has taken the time to do this. I wanted to bring it to the police because not knowing is a risk I’m not willing to take. I want to know (what the person) is doing and who sent this to my child.”
Van Akker has posted about the incident on her personal Facebook page along with photos of the package and white powder. As of Wednesday afternoon, the post had been shared nearly 500 times.
Const. Monika Terragni, spokeswoman for the Comox Valley RCMP, confirmed police do have the substance at the detachment and will be analyzing it to determine what it is.
She couldn’t provide a timeline as to when the powder could be identified, as it depends on if it could be tested locally or would have to be sent away to another lab.
“In this case, we’re looking at what exactly the substance is to determine if there’s any sort of threat or any kind of danger.”
Terragni confirmed police are investigating the totality of what happened, including where the package came from, what was written on the envelope and its contents.