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Inquest Urged In Child's Death

Wednesday August 6, 2008 Staff

Katelynn Sampson was found dead in her guardian's apartment Sunday.

Beyond that, little is known about how the seven-year-old died, or even how she came to be in the woman's care. Ontario's Youth Advocate is urging that the government perform an inquiry into her alleged murder.

Bernice Sampson, Katelynn's biological mother, claims the girl was let down by two child protection services. She's pictured here with Katelynn.

However, Braham Siegel, a certified family law specialist, said part of the blame lay in her decision to surrender the child to the accused.

"The mother to take much more careful and thorough steps when she decided to hand custody of the child over to [the accused]," may have had a part in preventing this, he said on CityOnline.

Sampson has stated that she was dealing with personal problems at the time, and may not have been capable of making such a decision.

"My understanding [is that] child protection agencies, although they had been involved with the family at one point, were not involved and did not really have an interest in the case at the time the custody order was made. Am I correct," Siegel asked.

"That's still being answered," responded John Muise, director of public safety for the Canadian Centre For Abuse Awareness.

Irwin Elman, Ontario's Child and Youth Advocate, is calling for an inquiry into the child's death.

"I do believe we need to find the answers about why this child died and the specifics to that so that any tinkering with the system that could prevent this specific instance from happening again, we should do. I also understand full well and I agree that we have been over this ground too many times," Elwin expounded.

"Once the serious criminal charge is dealt with, getting the answers to make the system work better if indeed there are ways ... can be done in an inquest," Muise added.

"In children's aid cases .. before they permanently place or before they ask the court to permanently place a child with someone, they do criminal background checks. But when Children's Aid is not involved, the court usually expects that the client and their lawyers will do whatever it takes to determine whether or not it's best for this child to be placed in someone's care," Seigel explained.

"We do have cases from time to time where both parties will stand up in front of the judge, both lawyers [will agree that both parties will] have joint custody of this child," he continued.

"I would go one step further," Muise argued. "It shouldn't be impractical to delve deep into these kinds of matters. So for instance if you're going before a family court and there's sort of a private circumstance; it shouldn't be private. I mean is there anything more important than child protection?

"I think we need to put the resources in to looking at all of these cases."

Donna Irving, 29, has been charged with second degree murder. She appeared briefly in court Monday and will return August 15.

Her boyfriend, 46-year-old Warren Johnson has also been arrested on a similar charge by police.

Opposition critics demand inquest into death of Katelynn Sampson, 7
Wed, August 6, 2008
Body showed signs of having been beaten on an ongoing basis, police say


TORONTO — Ontario’s opposition parties joined the province’s child advocate Wednesday in demanding an inquest into the death of a seven-year-old Toronto girl who was found dead in her caregiver’s apartment over the weekend.

So severe were the injuries suffered by Katelynn Sampson that autopsy results, originally expected Tuesday, won’t be available for several more days, police have said.

Toronto police Det. Sgt. Steve Ryan has described the sight of the little girl’s body as the worst thing he has seen in 20 years of policing.

The case makes it clear Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform Act, which governs how custody is determined in at-risk situations, is in need of an overhaul, opposition New Democrats and Conservatives both complained Wednesday.

“When a child can simply be handed from one legal guardian to another with little or no scrutiny of the new guardian’s background, there is a problem here,” said Andrea Horwath, the NDP’s children and youth services critic.

“Children aren’t commodities.”

Ontario’s Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Irwin Elman, called Tuesday for an inquest into Sampson’s death, saying the laws that are supposed to protect kids in Ontario “all failed” the little girl.

“Child Welfare has what’s thought to be a pretty strict screening process,” Elman said. “Any time a child dies under these circumstances, we as a community, as a society, have something to learn.”

The Progressive Conservatives said Wednesday an inquest is needed, but would have to wait until after all criminal proceedings are completed.

“The tragic death of Katelynn points to flaws in our child-protection system,” Conservative children and youth services critic Julia Munro said in a statement.

“The government must take immediate action to toughen child protection as we wait for an inquest.”

Pamela States, an aunt who identified the third grader’s body for police, said she noticed a litany of serious visible injuries.

“She had, like, the two black eyes, she had a bruise on her nose, scratches on to her face,” States told Toronto television station CP24.

“She had a big bump here, and a big one back there . . . I mean, you wouldn’t do that to a dog.”

Police said Katelynn slept on a bedroom floor of her caregiver’s home and showed signs of having been assaulted on an ongoing basis.

Her mother, Bernice Sampson, surrendered custody of the little girl last January to Donna Irving, who remains in custody on a charge of second-degree murder.


Inquest Sought in Girl’s Death
Katelynn Sampson, 7, was found dead in apartment early Sunday
August 06, 2008 05:27

Ontario’s child and youth advocate is calling for an inquest into the violent death of seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson.

“I think that any time a child dies under these circumstances, we as a community, as a society, have something to learn,” Irwin Elman said yesterday.

Katelynn was found dead in an apartment in the Queen Street West and Lansdowne Avenue area early Sunday, shortly after her legal guardian Donna Irving, 29, called 9-1-1 and claimed the girl had stopped breathing while choking on food.

Irving was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after EMS personnel arrived and saw signs of trauma on the victim’s body that contradicted the guardian’s story.

Homicide Det.-Sgt. Steve Ryan said yesterday seeing her body was “probably the worst thing I’ve seen in 20 years of policing — the worst.”

“Some of those injuries did not appear to be fresh injuries,” he said, adding that Katelynn had apparently been sleeping on the floor in one of the bedrooms.

Police are pleading for anyone who suspected Katelynn was suffering abuse to come forward.

The Toronto Star has learned that Irving had gained full custody of the little girl without any involvement of child and family service agencies and despite having a criminal past involving drugs, prostitution and violence.
Ontario Says Review is Underway Following Toronto girl's Death
Ontario's attorney general says he'll do whatever needs to be done to ensure vulnerable children are adequately protected in the wake of Katelynn Sampson's death.

Chris Bentley says work is already underway to review legislation that's supposed to protect children like Katelynn to see if changes need to be made.

Opposition parties and the province's child advocate have called for an inquest into the seven-year-old girl's death and an overhaul of the Children's Law Reform Act.

The Toronto girl's battered body was found by police in her caregiver's apartment on Aug. 2.

One officer said the injuries the girl suffered were the worst thing he had seen in 20 years of policing. Her legal guardian, Donna Irving, and Irving's boyfriend, Warren Johnson, are charged with second-degree murder.

Katelynn had been staying with the couple with her mother's consent.

Below are Links to other pages of information and stories of some of the Mistakes of our Child Protection System.
Changes are truly Needed!!! Just Click on the Graphics below!!!

Click The Banner Below To Learn About Jeffrey Baldwin.
Jeffrey died of Starvation while being cared for by The Catholic Children's Aid Society!!!

Jeffrey Bladwin, Died while in Care
The Catholic Children's Aid Society

Amanda's Memorial Page For

Richie Van Den KerKoff: Children's Aid Responsable
for His Being On The Streets at 15 Years Old!!!

Brian Prior's Family has been
destroyed by our Authoraties

Tabatha Maybury found LoveCry at: 2am
she was eitght years old and on the streets

More Horrors
More Kids Let Down


Love and Blessings LOVECRY