Lisa Dudley, who was killed in a targeted attack in Mission in 2008, had a dying message for her mother, which was told to a paramedic, but wasn’t shared with Dudley’s family for nearly 10 years.
Dudley was shot at a home in rural Mission, B.C., but sat paralyzed in a chair for four days before a neighbour found her. A police officer dispatched to sounds of shots fired reported by neighbours never got out of his patrol car and did not talk to the man who made the 911 call.
The advanced life support paramedic, Peter Smith, finally shared Dudley’s words on Tuesday during testimony at the coroner’s inquest into her death.
“I recall I had to have my ear really close to hear her,” said Smith. “I remember her hot breath on my ear, and she was whispering, the personal types of things that she was trying to say.”
Smith said a supervisor had told him never to repeat the message to anybody, and he said he hadn’t until Tuesday.
“She did at one point, give me a message to give to her parents,” the paramedic said before a long pause. “She wanted me to tell her parents she was sorry and tell her mother that she loved her.”
Dudley’s mother, Rosemarie Surakka, broke into tears in the courtroom upon hearing her daughter’s dying words for the first time.
Smith testified that he regretted not being able to share them sooner, saying, “I felt horrible that I’ve never been allowed to say it.”
Immediately after his testimony ended, Smith and Surakka left the courtroom together and spoke privately in the hallway.
“It was a relief to finally find out what Lisa went through in those days,” said Surakka during a break. “I was shaken to my core when he told me that she was sorry and to please tell me … that she loved me. I’m sorry, my mind is just spinning.”
Surakka said she had asked police and a coroner early in the investigation if her daughter had said anything before she died but was told that Dudley had not.
“I’m so angry that we have a police force that is so cold and callous that they would try and keep me from something like that,” said Surakka.