A security guard stands by as firefighters inspect a wall in the women’s washroom in the Core Shopping Centre in Calgary on Monday. (Lauren Krugel/The Canadian Press)

Body found in wall behind toilet in Calgary mall

Maintenance worker had been called to fix a toilet that wouldn’t flush

Part of the food court in a busy downtown Calgary mall was cordoned off on Monday as police investigated the discovery of a body inside a wall in a women’s washroom.

Police spokeswoman Emma Poole said the body was found after a maintenance worker was called in to fix a toilet that wouldn’t flush on the fourth floor of the Core Shopping Centre.

“If you were to look at the toilet, there’s a panel behind it, so that when people move it would automatically flush,” she said. “When they removed that panel, they found a deceased person behind that wall.”

During the busy lunch hour, people were dining metres away from the washroom, which had a yellow caution ribbon strung across the entrance. A security guard was directing women to another washroom a floor below, but the men’s and family washrooms were still accessible.

Officers could be seen ducking in and out of the washroom and more than half a dozen firefighters and officials with the medical examiner’s office were there as well.

In the early afternoon, the section of the food court closest to the washroom was cordoned off entirely and media were asked to move back. Curious mall staff and shoppers were milling about nearby.

Three of the eateries nearby were closed.

About an hour after the area was closed, someone wheeled a gurney past the cordon.

READ MORE: Calgary police searching for mother after body of baby found

Poole said investigators had not yet determined if the death was suspicious.

She said it’s possible someone crawling through a vent or duct fell from above and got stuck in the wall.

“That would be the most logical … that it was from above,” said Poole. “That is obviously something they would be looking at is someone crawling through the ventilation system.”

— With files from Chris Purdy in Edmonton

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

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