The family of a 16-year-old girl who died of hypothermia after she was discovered unresponsive in the parking lot at West Edmonton Mall is suing North America’s largest mall and Cineplex Entertainment.
Jasmine Kyle was left unconscious in the parking lot for seven hours on a cold night in December 2019 before being found by a motor grader driver around 3am
Police were called to the scene and performed CPR before taking her to Misericordia Hospital, where she later died.
An autopsy later revealed that Jasmine was heavily intoxicated at the time of her death. She also had cannabis in her system. The death was ruled an accident.
“I still can’t believe she’s gone,” Jasmine’s grandmother, Debbie Sandberg, told CBC News.
“It left a huge hole in our hearts and changed our family forever.”
Sandberg filed the lawsuit five months ago, but is only now speaking about Jasmine’s death.
Two unnamed security guards are also being named as part of the $165,000 lawsuit.
Security can find no one
On December 6, 2019, Jasmin informed her grandparents that she was going to the cinema with a friend, followed by an overnight stay.
But instead, Jasmine and a friend ended up at the West Edmonton Mall and Rec Room owned by Cineplex Entertainment.
Sandberg isn’t sure how her granddaughter got access to alcohol, but she said police told her surveillance video showed Jasmine and seven other young people outside the recreation room.
“They were seen on the video cameras outside in the recreation room parking lot drinking and having snowball fights and things like that,” Sandberg said.
I was the last one to hold her when she died– Debbie Sandberg
According to the autopsy report, CCTV footage showed Jasmin leaving the recreation room at 6:50 p.m. She said when police viewed the footage, they saw Jasmine running up some parking lot stairs at 7:33 p.m., chasing after another girl and laughing.
The autopsy report says a complaint was filed at the West Edmonton Mall around 8pm about a drunk woman who passed out in the same parking lot where Jasmine was eventually spotted.
The autopsy report said there was no video surveillance of the parking lot where Jasmine was found.
“West Edmonton Mall security personnel responded to the parking lot but were unable to locate anyone,” the report said.
That night it was -10 degrees.
A grader guide eventually spotted Jasmine in the now-empty parking lot at 3 a.m. Her body was pinned between a concrete barricade and a wall. The police were called to the scene of the crime.
Constable performed CPR
constant Brady Dryer and his partner were near the West Edmonton Mall when the 911 call came through.
“We knew it was cold outside, so it was important that we got there quickly,” Dryer said in an interview with CBC News last week.
Dryer said that when they reached Jasmine, she was not breathing and had no pulse. He began CPR while his partner called an ambulance. Due to height restrictions, the ambulance could not go up the ramp.
“We had to take Jasmine to a hospital,” Dryer said. “Rather than waiting any longer, we put her in the back of the police vehicle where I continued CPR.
“Then my partner drove the police cars to the hospital with lights and sirens on.”
Not long after, Sandberg received a call from the police telling her that Jasmine was in the hospital trauma room with 15 people to save her life.
She was told to go to the hospital immediately.
Hospital workers tried to revive Jasmine for nearly four hours before a doctor pronounced her dead.
“I was the first to hold her when she was born,” Sandberg said. “And I was the last one to hold her when she died.”
“She had this really nice, friendly smile”
Sandberg said she had trouble sleeping for the first week after Jasmine’s death.
“I used to wake up between three and four in the morning and imagine her lying in the snowdrift,” Sandberg said.
Dryer is also haunted by the memory.
“You know, I actually remember Jasmine having a school ID,” Dryer said. “I remember seeing her smile in the photo and she had this really nice, friendly smile.
“That’s what I always think about when I think about this case.”
Dryer and his partner investigated Jasmine’s death and paid a visit to Sandberg to answer their questions. You keep in touch.
“I think Jasmine’s family influenced me a lot,” Dryer said.
“It’s definitely a call I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
The lawsuit alleges that Jasmine’s death was caused by negligence. It was claimed that mall security “did not leave the premises to search outside for Jasmine Kyle, but at best only checked the limited surveillance camera views available”.
The court document also alleges the defendants served alcohol to minors, employed incompetent or poorly trained staff, and lacked adequate video or other surveillance.
The allegations could not be proven in court. No statements of defense were filed.
The West Edmonton Mall did not respond to repeated requests for comment from CBC.
In a written statement, a Cineplex spokesperson speaking on behalf of the Rec Room called Jasmine’s death a “tragic loss” and offered his condolences to the teenager’s friends and family, but declined further comment, citing the ongoing legal matter.
Sandberg knows her granddaughter made some bad decisions that night, but she believes others are to blame, including those who were with her granddaughter.
She said neither of them ever apologized to her or her family.
Sandberg also hopes the companies she’s suing will make significant changes to prevent another death like Jasmine’s from happening again.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people who can attest to the fact that they made some stupid decisions as a teenager, and they’re here to speak out,” Sandberg said.
“She paid the worst price anyone could ever pay.”