The family of a 16-year-old girl who died of hypothermia after being found unresponsive in the West Edmonton Mall parking lot is suing North America’s largest mall and Cineplex Entertainment.
Jasmine Kyle was left unconscious for seven hours in the parking lot on a cold night in December 2019 before being found by a grader operator at around 3am
Police were called to the scene and performed CPR before transporting her to Misericordia Hospital, where she later died.
An autopsy later revealed that Jasmine was highly intoxicated at the time of her death. She also had cannabis in her system. The death was ruled accidental.
“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 out about Jasmine’s death.
Two unnamed security guards are also named as part of the $165,000 lawsuit.
Security can’t find anyone
On December 6, 2019, Jasmine told her grandparents that she was going to the movies with a friend, followed by a sleepover.
But instead, Jasmine and a friend ended up at the West Edmonton Mall and the Rec Room, which is owned by Cineplex Entertainment.
Sandberg isn’t sure how her granddaughter had access to alcohol, but she said police told her the video showed Jasmine and seven other young people outside the break room.
“They were seen on video cameras in the Rec 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 shows Jasmine leaving the rec room at 6:50 p.m. She said when police reviewed the footage, they saw Jasmine at 7:33 p.m. running up the parking lot stairs, chasing another girl and laughing.
The autopsy report said a complaint was made to the West Edmonton Mall at around 8 p.m. about an intoxicated woman passed out in the same parking lot where Jasmine was eventually found.
The autopsy report said there was no CCTV coverage of the parking lot where Jasmine was found.
“West Edmonton Mall security subsequently responded to the parking lot but were unable to locate anyone,” the report states.
It was -10 degrees that night.
A grader operator finally spotted Jasmine in the now empty parking lot at 3am. Her body was wedged between a cement barricade and a wall. Police were called to the scene.
The officer performed CPR
Const. Brady Dreyer and his partner were near the West Edmonton Mall when the dispatch call came in.
“We knew it was cold outside, so it was important to get there quickly,” Dreyer said in an interview with CBC News last week.
Dreyer said when they got to Jasmine, she wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. He began doing CPR while his partner called an ambulance. Due to height restrictions, the ambulance was unable to climb the ramp.
“We had to get Jasmine to the hospital,” Dreyer said. “So instead of waiting any longer, we put her in the back of the police car where I continued to do CPR.
“Then my partner drove the police car with lights and sirens to the hospital.”
Not long after, Sandberg got a call from the police telling her that Jasmine was in the hospital’s trauma unit with 15 people working to save her life.
She was urged to go to the hospital immediately.
Hospital staff spent nearly four hours trying to revive Jasmine before doctors pronounced her dead.
“I was the first one 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, sweet smile”
Sandberg said that in the first week after Jasmine’s death, she had trouble sleeping.
“I would always wake up between three and four in the morning and imagine her lying in the snow bed,” Sandberg said.
The dryer is also haunted by memory.
“You know, I actually remember Jasmine had a school ID,” Dryer said. “I remember seeing her smile in the picture and she had this really nice, sweet smile.
“I think about that whenever I think about this case.
Dreyer and his partner investigated Jasmine’s death and visited Sandberg to answer any questions she had. They keep in touch.
“I think Jasmine’s family had a big impact on me,” Dryer said.
“It’s definitely a call I’ll think about for the rest of my life.
The lawsuit alleges that Jasmine’s death was caused by negligence. Mall security “did not leave the premises to look for Jasmine Kyle outside, but at best only reviewed the limited security camera views available,” it said.
The court document also accuses the defendants of serving alcohol to minors, employing incompetent or poorly trained staff and not having adequate video or other surveillance.
The charges have not been proven in court. There are no written submissions.
West Edmonton Mall did not respond to CBC’s repeated requests for comment.
In a written statement, a Cineplex spokesperson speaking on behalf of the Rec Room called Jasmine’s death a “tragic loss” and offered condolences to the teenager’s friends and family, but declined further comment, citing the ongoing legal matter.
Sandberg knows her granddaughter made some bad choices that night, but she believes others share the blame, including those who were with her granddaughter.
She said none of them ever apologized to her or her family.
Sandberg also hopes the companies she’s suing will make meaningful changes to prevent another death like Jasmine’s.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people who can attest that they made some stupid choices when they were teenagers, and they’re here to talk about it,” Sandberg said.
“She paid the worst price you could ever pay.”