B.C. mother found her dead son face down in a sofa, coroner’s inquest hears

The mother of a man whose death is the subject of a coroner’s inquest said she ran out into the street screaming that her son had been killed.

Gladys Scherbey told the inquest on Monday that she found her son Corey on his knees with his face deep into his leather sofa in the living room of his house.

She lifted her 88-kg (189 lbs) son under the arms and “gently laid him down” on the floor where there was a large volume of blood.

“I said to him: ‘Corey, Corey what happened to you? Who did this to you? Who has killed you?’” Gladys Scherbey said at the inquest. “My heart sank.”

Scherbey said her son’s socks were clean and white but his shirt was “old, raggedy, and stretched” and not something he would usually wear.

“I ran out of the house screaming: ‘Corey’s been killed, Corey’s been killed, someone has killed Corey, murdered, murdered, murdered.’”

Corey John Scherbey, 38, was reported dead on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 22, 2011 in his home in Chilliwack.

Gladys and Ed Scherbey fought for eight years for a coroner’s inquest into their son’s death. The couple went to court twice after the Solicitor-General refused to order an inquest.

In November, 2019, an inquest was scheduled for April 14, 2020 but was postponed to November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inquest is being held at Burnaby Coroners’ Court. The coroner is Margaret Janzen.

A jury is hearing evidence from witnesses about the facts surrounding Scherbey’s death. The jury can make recommendations to prevent deaths from occurring under similar circumstances in future.

The RCMP originally investigated the death as a homicide but changed their focus when a coroner’s report found the cause of death to be a drug overdose.

The family never believed the death was accidental. They hired an expert to review the evidence, which pointed to suffocation as the cause of death, not an overdose.

Gladys Scherbey said she never saw her son drink alcohol or be “under the influence of anything at all.

“My son was paranoid about needles,” she said.

Corey Scherbey worked in the logging industry as a choker, hooking cables around logs for removal. His mother described him as an excellent cook whose special dishes included borscht. They talked regularly by phone and on the Friday before he died, she brought him supper, which he thanked her for.

“’That’s what mothers are for,’” Gladys said she told her son at the time. “We were very close.”

Earlier Monday morning at the inquest, Colin McAlpine said when he was going through a rough period, Corey allowed him to stay in his basement suite for $600 a month.

“He was a great person to be around,” said McAlpine. “He’s the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back.”

On the day Corey’s body was found, McAlpine remembered going up the stairs to the landing in his bare feet and hearing Corey’s mother saying, “No, oh God no, Corey.”

McAlpine said there were a lot of dead flies in the living room, where Corey’s body was found.

The weekend had been a hot one with temperatures in the high 30s in Chilliwack, McAlpine said.

“The smell was very, very overwhelming,” he said. “It was stifling in there.”

The inquest continues.

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