Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Non-custodial dad charged with the murder of two children; kids apparently killed during holiday visitation (Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Canada)

UNNAMED DAD has been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his two children. The article states that the children normally lived with their mother, so it appears that this was a non-custodial dad who murdered these children during a holiday visitation.

I suspect that Dad had a past history of child abuse, since it is mentioned that "the family" had a past involvement with Child and Family Services. Social services and the media often does this, which is deflect blame onto an abstraction like "the family" or a "troubled" or "volatile" relationship. The problem with words like "family" or "relationship" in this context is that the actual individual who is abusing the children gets lost in the shuffle, and is not held accountable for his behavior.


Father of two children charged with their murders
Postmedia News: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 1:01 PM

Alberta Justice has confirmed that the father of two children found dead in a north Edmonton residence has been charged with two counts of murder.

A day before the two children were discovered, volunteers dropped off a garbage bag full of Christmas presents that will likely never be opened.

Ashley and Steve Baylis delivered the toys early Saturday afternoon on behalf of Santa’s Anonymous, an annual Christmas campaign to collect, wrap, and deliver gifts to less fortunate families.

“My husband went to the door and he saw the kids, chatted for a couple of minutes and then left,” said Ashley Baylis. “The kids were trying to see what was in the bag.”

Baylis was devastated to recognize the door — which had a paper note on the screen that instructed visitors not to use that door — in pictures posted online Monday morning.

“We saw the kids and they were happy, and we don’t understand why this happened,” Baylis said. “It’s sad and we’re both pretty depressed about it.”

The children’s bodies were found in a townhouse on Abbottsfield Road by police officers called to assist the Child and Family Services crisis unit at about 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Homicide detectives have taken charge of the investigation. A 31-year-old man was taken into custody at the scene, and was treated for minor injuries by EMS. His name and his relationship to the children has not yet been released.

A woman who identified herself as a distant relative of the family arrived at the housing complex and broke into loud sobs, a bouquet of flowers in her arms.

Through tears, she said she came to the scene to pay her condolences after learning about the deaths from her daughter, who got the news from Facebook.

About an hour after the medical examiner arrived at the scene late Monday afternoon, a forensics investigator carried two bodies wrapped in white plastic bags out of the home.

The investigator carried the small bodies in his arms before giving them to an officer who placed them in the back of a waiting van.

The family had some involvement with Child and Family Services, but the children were living with their mother at the time of their deaths, Minister Yvonne Fritz confirmed on Monday.

“We did have involvement with the family,” said Fritz, Minister of Children and Youth Services for the Government of Alberta.

Fritz said she was unable to release any other details about the family or the extent of her department’s involvement with the children.

“Any incidence of family violence is very tragic, and when it involves children I find it even more shocking and sad,” Fritz said. “This was shocking today, and it’s very sad.”

Elizabeth Bedard, who shares a wall with the unit where the bodies were found, said the residents had lived there for about 18 months, but largely kept to themselves and weren’t known by many others in the complex.

She said she sometimes saw a man entering and exiting the unit, and saw him enter with two young kids on one occasion.

Brenda Thurston, who also lives in the complex, said she was saddened to learn of the deaths and said her nine-year-old daughter would often play with children who had died.

“This is too close,” said Thurston, who was visibly upset. “This is just a shocker.”

Later, Thurston returned with her daughter to lay stuffed toys at a makeshift memorial set up next to a field many of the homes in the complex faced.

When asked why she brought the toys, Thurston’s daughter replied: “So they can have a happy life up there.”

Other residents continued adding to the memorial into the evening. Crystal Fox and her four-year-old daughter brought a teddy bear at 6:30 p.m. Fox said she wasn’t surprised something tragic happened, since police cruisers were at the residence “all the time.”

Police spokeswoman Clair Seyler said the children’s deaths are the subject of a criminal investigation, but added the cause of the deaths and the identity of the children will not be confirmed until autopsies are completed.

Other neighbours said they weren’t sure who lived in the unit where the bodies were found.

NDP MLA Rachel Notley is calling for a government investigation into the deaths, and says she wants to know government is doing everything it can to protect children in its care.

“We need to, at the very least, serve these children’s memories by doing everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said.

Tracey, a resident of the complex who did not give her last name, remembered the children playing outside with her daughter, in the same field that is now cordoned off with yellow police tape.

“I pray that somebody up there is looking after them now,” she said.

Forensic investigators, police, and media were at the townhouse complex throughout the day on Monday. Police turned off the lights and left in the early evening. Through a small gap in the dark curtains, a Christmas tree decorated with white lights remained visible.

“That is so sad to happen at Christmas,” said Tracey.