The founder of the Humanity Project in Moncton says Charles Pitre was a kind-hearted, positive individual.
Pitre, 51, was found dead in the Moncton landfill Tuesday afternoon after going missing for a week, according to Codiac Regional RCMP.
Police said some of Pitre’s belongings were found near a dumpster in the downtown, prompting a search of the landfill by officers and employees from the SouthEast Regional Service Commission.
Police have not released a cause of death, and an autopsy was scheduled for Friday. Foul play is not suspected.
CBC News requested an update on the matter, but police have yet to respond.
Charles Burrell, founder of the Humanity Project, said he knew Pitre from the shelter, where he would come in for meals.
“He was a very sweet man,” Burrell said Friday. “He was probably one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time. He was very kind, very courteous all the time.”
Pitre had lived for a few years at the MacDonald Centre for Independent Living, which helps adults with disabilities. He had lost a leg in a work accident.
Burrell said Pitre received a new prosthetic this year and was excited about it.
He said it was a tragedy and he wants to know what happened to Pitre.
“I’m sick to my stomach just thinking about it,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing.
Calls for protection around dumpster
Burrell said just two weeks ago a woman came into the shelter saying she had sought shelter in a dumpster and was nearly lifted into the waste truck before getting the driver’s attention.
“It happens more often than you think,” he said.
A Moncton city councillor echoed Burrell’s concerns, saying it’s becoming more common.
“More and more, we see people in containers,” said Coun. Charles Léger. “People search for goods, clothing or food in the waste or recycling bins. Homeless people find refuge there to sleep.”
He said he would like the companies responsible for emptying these containers to review their protocols and consider better ways to prevent tragic accidents.
“There has to be a better way to do a visual inspection before emptying the container,” he said, adding he recognizes the noise of the trucks and the size of the containers can make things difficult.
Both Léger and Burrell say the issue underscores the need for more poverty reduction measures and affordable housing as well as mental health and addiction services.