Voting Page
Attorney general to review
Ontario To Look Into How Custody Cases Are Handled
NDP Files Complaint Against Judge in Katelynn Case
Will Katelynn's Death Be a Turning Point?


A Community Based Issue
Detecting Child Abuse is a Community Issue
The Daily News
Published: Thursday, August 07, 2008

How could this happen?

In Toronto the legal guardian of a seven-year-old girl has been charged with second-degree murder in the girl's death.

Charged along with Donna Irving, 29, in the death of Katelynn Sampson is Irving's 46-year-old partner, Warren Johnson.

A 20-year police veteran of the Toronto Police Service called the sight of the girl's body one of the worst things he's seen in his career.

Initially, it appears no one had a clue this child was potentially being mistreated leading up to the final hours of her life.

Katelynn's mother, Bernice Sampson, placed the girl with Irving because she was struggling with her own issues.

She has since said she had no clue the friend she allowed to care for her daughter had a shady past.

As it turns out, Irving has a history of criminal convictions. This fact alone should have precluded her from having a child in her care.

Katelynn first began living with Irving just over a year ago, police said. She was granted full custody of the girl earlier this year, authorities have confirmed.

Police are now saying they have heard disturbing stories, not yet confirmed, of possible abuse that the child suffered.

Now authorities are hoping those who knew the child can shed some light on this tragic case.

It's great to follow up on cases of child abuse to learn what really happened, but why are we unable to prevent them?

In B.C. similar child deaths have been investigated and authorities say the point is to prevent such tragic events from happening again.

But they keep happening. Clearly a major issue in this case is why this woman's criminal history was not discovered.

If a criminal background check isn't standard for someone who wants full custody of a child, then the system is failing us.

If indeed a check was supposed to be done on this woman, why was it not carried out?

These are questions that authorities in Toronto will have to anguish over. In B.C., including the Island -- Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria -- we've seen similar cases of horrific abuse with results similar to the case of Katelynn's.

The Matthew Vaudreuil case resulted in numerous recommendations. Vaudreuil, 5, died in Vancouver in 1992 at the hands of his mother.

The Gove Commissions, looking at the Vaudreuil case, did not end the problem. In Nanaimo we saw two tragic child deaths following the Gove report.

The other issue of note is where were was the girl's system of support?

If she did suffer abuse in the days or weeks leading to her death, then were there no teachers, no friends or neighbours, who noticed anything unusual was going on?

While the province continues to be pushed by Mary Turpel Lafond, B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth, for better care it is not the government that prevents child deaths.

They have a key role, but can only act after they are told of children at risk. It is also up to families, neighbours, teachers and others -- all of us -- to act if there is reason to suspect a child is being abused.

Certainly in hindsight, in every case of child abuse that has resulted in death, there are those who either suspected or ought to have suspected abuse and said nothing.

It is a horrible truth that though such tragedies are preventable, that does not mean they will stop or that any government has the power to make them stop.

What governments can do is provide adequate resources to see that children are being protected as much as possible. If we are going to act as individuals when we suspect child abuse, then governments must be committed to providing resources that will keep children safe once it is known they are at risk.

Comment on this opinion:

Ontario Girl Never Complained of Abuse:
Ont. girl never complained of abuse: Mother
Caregiver, boyfriend charged with second-degree murder of 7-year-old Katelynn Sampson
Melissa Leong, Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, August 06, 2008

TORONTO - As police charged a second suspect Wednesday night in the shocking murder of seven-year-old Katelynn Angel Sampson, the man who thought of himself as her stepfather said he noticed makeup had been applied to a bruise on her face shortly before her killing.

"We asked (Katelynn), 'How come you got that?'" said Ian Khan, 48, partner of the child's mother. "(She said) she was playing hockey with the boys."

As loved ones continued to grapple with how the little girl could have suffered such a violent end, Warren Johnson, 46, was arrested.
Warren Johnson, 46, has been charged with second-degree murder. He is the companion of Donna Irving, 29, who was earlier charged with second-degree murder in the child's death.
Warren Johnson, 46, has been charged with second-degree murder. He is the companion of Donna Irving, 29, who was earlier charged with second-degree murder in the child's death.
Toronto Police Service

Katelynn was living in the care of Johnson and his 29-year-old girlfriend, Donna Irving, who has been in custody since the weekend. Both now face charges of second-degree murder.

Det. Sgt. Steve Ryan told Global News Wednesday night that Johnson, Irving and their two sons were at home at the time of Katelynn's death. Shortly after, he took the children and left, Ryan added.

"We had a chance to watch the surveillance video of the apartment. We were able to find him on the surveillance (tape); he was leaving the building as paramedics were coming in," he said.

Police originally said Johnson was not at the home and was not considered a suspect.

"It was clear that he lied," Ryan said. "Given the nature of the injuries to this little girl, (the male accused) bears responsibility as well," he said.

"It's not so much who did what, it's what didn't you do . . . You can't turn a blind eye to that."

Early Sunday, police discovered Katelynn's body after receiving a 911 call saying that a child was choking on food. But when authorities arrived, they quickly doubted the story.

A homicide detective said he has heard "disturbing" accounts of the potential abuse the little girl faced for some time and told reporters she had suffered the worst trauma he has seen in 20 years.

Police have said results of the autopsy will not be ready for another week because her injuries are "complicated" and "many."

Katelynn never complained of any abuse, her mother, Bernice Sampson, said Wednesday from her home, about a block away from where her daughter used to live. Sampson had surrendered Katelynn to Irving earlier in the year while she attempted to straighten her life out.

Friends who were used to the child running to hug them say Katelynn had grown withdrawn.

In recent times, she seemed to cling to her caregiver, said 56-year-old Beverley Walker, who people in the neighbourhood call "momma."

Katelynn's pudgy cheeks had become thinner of late, they said.

Sampson and Khan, her boyfriend of two years, would visit Katelynn every few days but in the last month or so, they saw less of her. When they came to pick her up, they would also take out Johnson and Irving's two sons.

Sampson, 45, was born in Windsor, N.S. She moved to Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood 25 years ago, where she became a well-known fixture.

Katelynn, the youngest of her five children, was born on a Oct. 24, 2000 at a downtown Toronto hospital, weighing seven pounds. She became a smiley, polite child who loved sweets; shortly before turning seven, she was fearless enough to drag Khan on all the rides they could ride at the Canadian National Exhibition.

In October 2007, Sampson signed over custody of Katelynn to Irving and Johnson, court documents say. Friends said Sampson thought she was doing what was best for her daughter.

According to Irving's court application for full-custody of Katelynn, she said the child's biological parents were drug addicts and unable to manage their addictions.

Sampson said she did not know that Irving, her trusted friend of 10 years, had convictions for violent crimes as police have revealed.

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