if a single child has died because of the failure of the Tories I believe this is a criminal matter and the government should be investigated by the police why should the family be taken to court and not the government that deceives us?

if a single child has died because of the failure of the Tories I believe this is a criminal matter and the government should be investigated by the police why should the family be taken to court and not the government that deceives us?
I took my Power in my Hand – / And went against the World – Emily Dickinson (Poem 660)

have you made a war out of your heart?

have you learned your lessons as well as you could have?
have you poured yourself out entirely and made not a drop
of your soul an acid throw? have you given your mask away
a dozen times and shown yourself naked to the beloved? and if not
why not? the world aches for this sort of courage and you have failed
if you have not done any of these works

have you grown a garden of words and laid the root cellar full of your harvest?
have you gone out into the world and faced each lie with your sword and cut down
as much of that thicket down? have you made a war out of your heart? have you taken
down all those who would harm the ones who are powerless? have you been shield and cry?
have you done the good work? and if not why not? why have you not spoken up and given your blood
for the cause which is the cause of all of mankind? why have you not laid your life on the line?

the line of poetry the line of language the line of acts of courage?
why have you stayed silent while the homeless walked by your home?
why have you not spoken for the hungry? why have you kept quiet when we have been lied to?
why have you not taken out your soul from its burial ground and given it up in life to do the work
of love? I ask you this not to make you ashamed or restless I ask you this because I am curious
how can you let your children live and yet keep silent when their children die?

how can you do this?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

if a single child has died————–Opposition members insist only a full public inquiry will get to the bottom of what went wrong.——The system is broken —so fix it and start with a public inquiry into this horror.-

the children stare
the people are silent
even though they have died

even though the graveyard is full
and they have given their lives so that
we might see

even though the cases show
the abuse and neglect
even though the children are ghosts

we will not set them free
we do not ask for answers from them
is this because we do not care for our children?

why do we stay silent
while a genocide proceeds?
why do we allow the contracts be signed

for future humiliations?
why do the people of  Alberta
say nothing about the children who have died?

and why do the Tories not answer the mummies?
is it because the law suits are ongoing?
will we have to wait for the court system to reveal the stories?

if negligence was the reason these children died
who will pay for the civil and criminal costs?
who has the ultimate responsibility for

these deficiencies in governance?
will we learn from our mistakes in hiring them?
will we elect a new party to govern the people?

or will we turn away from the crimes
committed and say that these were only
aboriginal children?  will racism triumph?

who will say that the government of Alberta
must open up the case histories and tell the people
what happened?

who will ask for justice for the (741) dead children?
if these children died in vain
without investigation by the police

then what does this say about you and I?
are we the people we thought we were?
or are we simply

the buyers and sellers of souls?
is this what we are to be known by?
and here are the words of our government

they will have a round table conference
to explain themselves
but what explanation will they give us for

(741) dead children?
will the knights of the round table
give us the reasons for the war against our children?

or we to understand that money and power corrupts?
that the people we hired to protect the children
instead were responsible for their deaths?

if a single child has died
because of the failure of the Tories
I believe

this is a criminal matter
and the government should be investigated by the police
why should the family be taken to court and not the government that deceives us?

why should the government be exempt from investigation
for the failures to protect
the most vulnerable citizens?

November 27, 2013 4:28 pm
Alberta to review how it investigates, reports foster child deaths

By Emily Mertz  Global News

EDMONTON – Human Services Minister Dave Hancock said a public review of the foster care system will include how the deaths of foster children are investigated and reported.
“I’ll push for a full, open discussion among the people in the system and others – so parents can give us their views on it,” said Hancock. “This is not an easy question; this is a very important question.”
He said everyone in the system wants to make sure they’re doing everything they can to keep kids safe.

“Over the past few days, a number of our community partners and staff have been in touch with my department to share their concerns about the negative image of frontline staff, caregivers and the child intervention system as a whole that is being portrayed as a result of the stories in the media and the discussions that are happening.”
On Monday, a joint investigative series on foster care deaths in Alberta by the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald was published. The series took more than four years to research and complete.
The investigation found 145 children have died in government care since 1999. The government has only publicized 56 deaths over that period.
“I’ve been receiving many, many emails and letters from foster parents and kinship care parents who are really affected by this media that’s been happening regarding the deaths of children in care,” said Katherine Jones of the Alberta Foster Parent Association, who was also part of Wednesday’s news conference.
“We all are aware that children die in care. It is heartbreaking for everybody when that happens,” she said. “We also understand that there are things in the child welfare system that need to be improved on and we have seen a lot of work being done in that area.”
“The people that work in this field are dedicated – committed – to keeping children safe and to improving the lives of the children and families that we serve,” added Bruce Armson, with the Alberta Association of Services for Children and Families. “Unfortunately, that seems to have been overlooked at this time.”

(Above: Raw video of Wednesday’s news conference with Human Services Minister Dave Hancock)


Four-mouth-old Delonna Sullivan is shown in this family handout photo. An Edmonton judge has removed a publication ban on the identity of a four-month-old baby girl who died in foster care. Delonna Sullivan’s mother, Jamie Sullivan, says she went to court so she could tell the world what happened to her daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HOAlberta minister responds to investigation on foster care deaths
Danielle Smith: Foster Care Deaths
Foster care deaths
“It’s not like the situation that you’ve seen now is news, to be honest,” said Hancock. “People who’ve worked in the system know that they’re dealing with… children in very difficult situations, they’re dealing with children who are medically fragile and come from tragic circumstances. People know that children die and that they die in care.”
Hancock went on to say the media coverage of the child intervention system has portrayed it “as one of despair,” but that it is also about hope.
“We need to say, ‘yes, we can always do better,’ and we need to say, ‘yes, there are tragedies’ because we are dealing with a very difficult and tragic population, but we also need to say ‘there’s hope.’ There’s a lot of good things happening, and there are a lot of good people doing it.”
Hancock reiterated his plan to form a roundtable with stakeholders, opposition members, and experts in children and youth services in the new year. That roundtable, he said, will come up with recommendations.
He also committed to reviewing Alberta’s Child Death Review system and the publication ban.
“What is the right balance of information to make sure we learn from every tragedy, we make sure families are treated properly and respectfully, and we protect the rights of all the others involved in the process?”
Opposition members insist only a full public inquiry will get to the bottom of what went wrong.

(Watch: Wildrose MLA and former Children’s Services Minister Heather Forsyth read her statement in the legislature Wednesday, urging the government to hold a public inquiry into the deaths of children in care.)
NDP Human Services critic Rachel Notley said she will ask members of the standing committee on legislative officers to support an NDP motion to give the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate further and immediate resources to investigate the deaths or serious injury of all children receiving government care.
The committee meets Friday.

Posted by Julie Ali at 8:17 AM

Rachel McLeod Rest In Peace

Rachel McLeod

Posted Mar 30, 2020 9:23 PM

Rachel Beverly McLeod was born on Sunday, October 5, 1980, in La Ronge, SK, and passed away on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Edmonton, AB, at the age of 39 years. Rachel is survived by her loving family, her mother, Georgina Charles; her father, Angus T. McLeod; her children, Maya McLeod, Darian McLeod-Bakke, Desmon McLeod-Bakke, Rathan Doering; her grandchild, Marley C.; her brothers & sisters, Angus Jr. McLeod (Lana), Darlene McLeod (Jason), Scott McLeod (Sandra), Betty McLeod, April McLeod, Georgette McLeod; her nieces & nephews, Amber, Brigette, Troy, Tamika, Logan, Jason, Romeo, Zayla, Owen, Sonny, Pearl, Baby J.; her aunts & uncles, John Charles, Solomon Charles (Linda), Sam Charles, Henry Charles, Delia Charles (Claude), Mabel Charles, Annie Charles, Dennis McLeod, Don & Isabelle McLeod, Doreen McLeod, Kathy McLeod, Georgie McLeod, Robin McLeod, Jerry & Lisa McLeod, Joan Nelson, Elizabeth (Sam Charles) McLeod, Billy John & Brenda McLeod, Jean (Wayne Armstrong) McLeod, Phillip Charles; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins & friends; her godparent, Cathy McLeod. She was predeceased by her grandparents, Alice & Paul Charles, William & Jemima (nee Charles) McLeod; her cousins, Baby Junior McLeod, John McLeod in infancy; her uncles, Tom Charles, David Jonas Charles in infancy; her aunt, Susan Charles. A private family service will be held. Online condolences may be left at https://www.arbormemorial.ca/riverpark/Obituaries/rachel-mcleod/47408 . Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care of Lac La Ronge Funeral Home, (306) 425-3666, Debra Klassen, Funeral Director, and River Park Funeral Home, (306) 764-2727, Don Moriarty, Funeral Director. 

Alberta First Nations agency not doing mandatory checks on mother who killed son, fatality inquiry hears


First Nations agency not doing mandatory checks on mother who killed son, fatality inquiry hears
2-year-old previously suffered injuries, including 4 times when police were called in

Meghan Grant – CBC News
Posted: March 09, 2020
Last Updated: March 09, 2020

Calgary 6155 court courts provincial queens bench legal justice courthouse alberta
A five-day fatality inquiry into circumstances surrounding a young boy’s death at the hands of his mother, who was already under police investigation for child abuse, began at the Calgary courthouse on Monday. (David Bell/CBC)
When a mother from a southern Alberta First Nation killed her two-year-old son, she was supposed to be under a 24-hour monitoring order by the community’s child and family services department, but it wasn’t being enforced, according to a police officer who investigated the child’s death.

This information was presented at a fatality inquiry that got underway Monday. A Calgary judge is examining the circumstances that led to the death of the child, whose mother was already under police investigation for child abuse.

The boy cannot be identified under a publication ban imposed Monday by provincial court Judge Karen Crowshoe as the five-day hearing began, which means his mother’s name and other details can no longer be reported. The boy’s grandmother requested the publication ban under Alberta’s Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

Under the publication ban, the child can only be referred to as “TDS.”

The woman, who is from a First Nation in southern Alberta, killed her son years ago and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Fatality inquiries do not place blame. Rather, the judge will attempt to make recommendations in hopes of preventing similar deaths in the future.

‘Orders need to be enforced’

At the time of the boy’s death, his mother had custody of TDS but was supposed to be under the supervision of the First Nation’s child and family services because she had brought him to hospital with suspicious injuries twice in the months prior to his death and was under police investigation.

In September of that year, TDS was brought to the Alberta Children’s Hospital by his mother. He was taken off life support a week later after suffering severe internal bleeding and a brain injury.

The First Nation’s child and family services department was not following an order that a staff member check on the mother and son every 24 hours, according to a police officer who was involved in the investigation.

CBC News is not naming the officer because it could identify the community where the family is from.

“I think there were other things that could have been done by our supporting agencies to prevent this,” said the officer, who was the second witness at the inquiry.

“The 24-hour monitoring, that was put there for a reason … those orders need to be enforced. We need to put in place the resources to make that happen and hopefully we can prevent something else like this from happening.”

Boy beaten for whining

As her son lay dying in a hospital room, his mother told a police officer she beat TDS the day before because he was whining.

She admitted to hitting TDS in the head, pushing him while he was taking off his shoes and throwing him into a sofa.

TDS died in hospital a week after he was admitted.

His mother was sentenced to 26 months, to be served at a healing lodge.

When she was sentenced, the court was told she was addicted to drugs and alcohol and suffered the effects of a traumatic, violent childhood.

Boy returned to mother

In the two years that TDS was alive, he suffered numerous injuries, including four instances where police became involved.

Twice in the summer of the same year as his death, TDS was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital with suspicious injuries, prompting staff to alert police.

That June, TDS was in foster care but the mother had access to him for visits through a Parent Guardianship Order.

On the last day of a two-night visit, his mother took the boy to hospital with bruising, which concerned staff.

It was unclear whether the injuries had been inflicted by TDS’s foster parents or his mother, so he was left in his mother’s care while police investigated.

In August 2014, his mother again took her son to the hospital. This time, he had a head injury. He had a black eye, bruises on his ear and head, and swelling of his brain.

His mother said TDS fell out of his car seat and landed on his head.

Again, the boy was allowed to continue living with his mother while under the supervision of the First Nation’s child and family services.

A month later, he was dead.


This story was updated to remove details that might identify the dead child after a publication ban was imposed by the judge on Monday.
Mar 09, 2020 2:20 PM MT

Meghan Grant
CBC Calgary reporter

Alberta mother who killed son, sentenced to 26 months in Indigenous healing lodge (2017)

(2017) https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4195035

Livia Starlight, Alberta mother who killed son, sentenced to 26 months in Indigenous healing lodge

Tsuut’ina mother pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year in 2-year-old’s 2014 killing
CBC News
Posted: July 07, 2017
Last Updated: July 07, 2017

Traezlin Denzel Starlight, 2, died in a Calgary hospital on Sept. 25, 2014, after being admitted to hospital a week earlier with injuries. His mother, Livia Starlight, from the Tsuut’ina First Nation southwest of Calgary, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2017. (Facebook)
An Alberta mother who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her two-year-old son has been sentenced to spend 26 months at an Indigenous healing lodge.

Livia Starlight, who is from Tsuut’ina Nation on Calgary’s southwest corner, admitted in February to killing her son, Traezlin, in September 2014.

At the time of Traezlin’s death, Starlight was already under investigation for child abuse stemming from previous hospital admissions.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Starlight, 30, was home alone with her son and three-year-old daughter at the time.

Traezlin had been whining and she was aggressive with him. He suffered severe internal bleeding and brain damage.

Both Crown and defence counsel told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice William Tilleman that they agree Starlight should serve 26 months at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Indigenous Women.

The healing lodge in Maple Creek, Sask., is under the management and control of Correctional Service Canada.

The lawyers said the length and location are appropriate because Starlight pleaded guilty and grapples with ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, as well as trauma from a violent childhood.

Starlight has five other children, one who was born shortly after Traezlin was killed.

Starlight gave a statement Friday before the court in Calgary was adjourned for sentencing.

She cried and told her family members she was sorry for her addictions and behaviour.

“I’m so sorry for my lifestyle. I’m so sorry for my family who are here today,” she said in court.

“I’m so sorry for my kids who had to endure my substance abuse … and mostly I’m sorry to my little boy, Traezlin.”

She vowed to change her life.

History of child abuse investigations

In the boy’s short life, he suffered injuries four separate times that led to police involvement, including one that was ongoing at the time of his death after his mother took him to hospital with a black eye and a head injury.

Traezlin had been admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital twice — in June and August of 2014 — where staff noticed suspicious injuries and police launched two investigations.

In June 2014, Traezlin was in foster care but Starlight had access to him for visits through a Parent Guardianship Order.

On the last day of a two-night visit, Starlight took the boy to the hospital. Staff at the children’s hospital noticed suspicious bruising on Traezlin on June 1, 2014.

It was unclear whether the injuries had been inflicted by Traezlin’s foster parents or Starlight, so he was left in his mother’s care while police investigated.

In August 2014, Starlight took the child to the hospital again, this time with a head injury.

She told authorities Traezlin had fallen out of his car seat and landed on his head. He had a black eye, bruises on his ear and head, and swelling of his brain.

Traezlin continued to live with his mother, who was being supervised by Tsuut’ina Child and Family Services, until his death in September 2014.

A year after daughter’s death, family awaits answers (2012)


A year after daughter’s death, family awaits answers

Parents of 3-year-old girl feel shut out by government officials in quest for more information

Posted: October 30, 2012
Last Updated: October 30, 2012

A family waits for answers on how a three-year-old girl while under the government’s care, reports Amy Stoodley  5:20

The parents of a three-year-old girl who died while under the care of the province say they are still not getting all the answers they deserve about her death.

Chancey Miller was in the care of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services when she died last September.

After a year of asking questions, the Millers still don’t know exactly what happened to their little girl.

Chancey Miller is pictured in an undated family photo. (CBC) 

“She can never come back home,” Maryann Miller, Chancey’s mother, told CBC News.

“They took away my last days with my daughter. Even if it was her last days. I just don’t know. Would she have been fine with me? I don’t know.”

Chancey was born with a heart problem. When she was just two months old, she travelled with her father to Halifax to get a pacemaker to help her heart beat properly.

Last year, provincial officials decided to take Chancey into temporary care. The family acknowledges there were problems, but they were hopeful of getting her back.

The child was put in a group home in August. Around the same time, tests showed further problems with her heart.

“They really didn’t give me any answers,” Maryann Miller said.

“They did all kinds of blood work, then they said she had to go to Toronto to get another pacemaker, and we’d be up there for six weeks and then I’d come back home with her.”

But that didn’t happen. Two weeks after surgery, doctors said Chancey was well enough to be discharged but not well enough to go home with her mother.

Chancey was placed in a foster home outside of Toronto and Maryann says she was told she had to go home without her daughter.

Maryann Miller is still looking for answers after her daughter Chancey died last year. (CBC)

“Her last words [were], ‘Mom, I’ll be so happy when I see you again,’ ” Miller said.

But, Maryann never did see her little girl again.

“Two workers came [to] my house and brought me a box of tissues and they told me Chancey died, actually, from an infection from an operation,” she said.

For Maryann, that didn’t make sense. She had weekly calls with the hospital. There was no mention of an infection.

“They were saying she was fine,” Miller said.

But she wasn’t fine. Documents obtained by CBC News show that the day before Chancey died, the foster mother rushed her to the hospital. She was having abdominal cramps and throwing up.

The doctors said she’d be OK, and sent her back to the foster home.

Around 7:20 a.m. the next morning, the foster mother found Chancey dead in her crib.

Search for answers

Now the Millers want answers.

They want to know why Chancey was released from the hospital given her heart problems.

Bill Miller. (CBC)

They want to know why they weren’t told their daughter had been brought to the hospital.

And they want to know why they weren’t given the opportunity to be with their little girl when she took her last breath.

“They won’t give me the information on a child that does not need protection anymore,” father Bill Miller said.

“She is dead. She don’t need no protection anymore. She don’t need protection from anybody. Not me, not her, not you, not anybody. But yet, I can’t get the information about her. Why she died, how she died.”

Complete disclosure

Brian Wentzell is the family’s lawyer. He’s helping them find the answers they’re searching for.

“There should be an automatic, at the cost of Child, Youth and Family Services, the complete disclosure to the family of all medical files related to this child or any child in a situation such as this,” Wentzell said.

The lawyer says all files in the department should be disclosed to the family. They should then be given an opportunity to ask questions — and get answers.

The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services declined CBC News interview requests, saying it is policy not to comment on individual cases.

In an e-mail to CBC News late Tuesday afternoon, Family Services Minister Charlene Johnson said no children have died because they were in care since the department was created in 2009.

She indicated that two children who were in care did die as a result of health and/or medical issues.

In general, Johnson said, if departmental officials identify the possibility that something they did or didn’t do led directly to the harm of a child, further steps would be taken to investigate the situation.

If the department then determines it should have acted differently, the minister noted, the parent or parents would be notified.

Serious health condition

Chancey had a serious health condition and, according to the coroner’s report, that’s ultimately what killed her.

But Wentzell says an inquiry is the only way to make sure, if something was done wrong, it doesn’t happen again.

Maryann Miller knows getting answers won’t bring her daughter back, but it will help her deal with the loss of losing her child and the guilt of not being there to say goodbye. 

“I love her,” she said. “I’ll be so happy when I see her.”

With files from Amy Stoodley 

Brenda Waudby moves on 16 years after Charles Smith debacle (2013)

Brenda Waudby moves on 16 years after Charles Smith debacle


Mon., Sept. 23, 2013


OMEMEE, Ont.—Jenna Mellor never had her hair cut. Her first came 15 years after she was murdered. Now several strands of her bright red hair rest in two lockets, one around her mother’s neck and the other around her sister’s.

Last summer, Brenda Waudby watched as funeral director Patrick Benson dug up her tiny 21-month-old daughter’s grave. Waudby just wanted to make her daughter whole. The year before, she discovered the coroner’s office and Hospital for Sick Children still had Jenna’s rib cage, even though she was buried in 1997. She was furious.

click to see caption

click to see caption

“We were able to have a visit with her ribs,” Waudby says. “It sounds really odd, but it was comforting.”

Benson clipped off a lock of hair — it hadn’t decomposed — and gave the women the locket with the hair inside.

“Now she’s with us wherever we go,” Waudby says.

It was Jenna’s ribs, a typo and a veil of secrecy over the true killer’s confession that kept Waudby on the province’s registry as a child abuser until 2012. She was one of the many victims of disgraced pathologist Charles Smith, whose botched autopsies led to the conviction of 13 people.

And she was an easy target for police because she had a cocaine addiction prior to Jenna’s death.

The stress last summer was overwhelming. In addition to putting her dead daughter back together, she was dealing with yet another court date, this time to be exonerated for abusing Jenna. All this, while in the middle of exams at Fleming College where she was in a dual-diploma law clerk and paralegal program.

Now, 16 years after she was wrongfully accused of murdering her toddler, she is a college graduate looking for work in the legal world.

“I want to fight for the ones that can’t fight for themselves, because they’ve been beaten down or broke down so far they get tired of trying,” Waudby, 48, says.

Her journey has been unfathomable and it stems from faulty medical evidence from Smith.

One cold night in January 1997, Waudby left Jenna with a 14-year-old babysitter. When she returned, the babysitter was gone and the house silent. Jenna was dead, her head beaten severely and more than a

Police charged her with murder and child abuse, based on Smith’s declaration Jenna had been beaten for months prior to her death. Fearing she would lose custody of her two other children with a murder charge hanging over her, Waudby pleaded guilty to child abuse in return for the Crown dropping the murder charge — something the Crown said it never offered.

Two years later, the Crown stayed the murder charge after uncovering problems with Smith’s medical evidence. But in that time, she lost her daughter to child services on several occasions for more than two years.

It wasn’t until 2005 that police finally found Jenna’s killer: the 14-year-old boy who babysat her that January night. The boy, referred to in court documents as J.D. who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, confessed to the murder to an undercover officer.

J.D. admitted to beating and sexually assaulting Jenna and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in December 2006. The court sentenced him to 22 months in prison.

Waudby and her lawyer fought to get her exonerated from the child abuse conviction.

The Crown insisted Jenna had old rib injuries, indicative of chronic abuse before she died.

Their insistence relied on a transcript of the babysitter’s confession that although he made “good solid jabs” to the girl’s stomach, his punches “wouldn’t have been enough force to break ribs.” The Crown’s conclusion: Waudby beat her toddler.

But Waudby and her dogged lawyer, Julie Kirkpatrick, knew that wasn’t true. But they couldn’t get their hands on the tape of the confession until she filed an appeal and received the evidence in disclosure.

J.D. actually said the exact opposite: his blows “would have had enough force to break ribs.” The court reporter had reported it incorrectly.

Waudby’s appeal was finally heard last June, Justice Michelle Fuerst overturned the child abuse conviction, and Crown attorney Alison Wheeler offered a “deep and sincere” apology for the miscarriage of justice.

In addition to the typo, Smith had said the rib injuries were chronic in nature. Two other pathologists completely disagreed with his findings.

They concluded there “was no forensic evidence that Jenna was chronically abused by her mother, Brenda Waudby.”

In 2008, a coroner’s inquest examined 45 autopsies Smith conducted that he concluded were either homicide or suspicious.

The inquest found 20 of Smith’s autopsies made questionable conclusions. That led to 13 criminal convictions, including Waudby. In 2010, the province awardedWaudby and 12 other victims of Smith’s errors up to $250,000 in compensation.

But nobody listened to Waudby, who publicly questioned Smith’s shoddy findings. It took 10 years for someone to hear her.

Brenda Waudby sits at a picnic table outside Bill’s Pizza House in Omemee, about a 20-minute drive west of Peterborough. She talks about her life over the past 16 years as her daughter, Justine Traynor, sits beside her playing with her iPhone.

Waudby moved from the “rough part of Peterborough” to the one-streetlight hamlet two years ago. The pair lives in a bungalow with Waudby’s 14-year-old son, two dogs, a “skittish shepherd mix” and a “carefree chocolate lab that will go home with anyone” and three cats.

“Too many kids at home,” Waudby says as she smiles and looks at her daughter. “I have six kids at home — I’m including the pets.”

“No, you have seven,” Justine says as an old Pontiac Fiero rolls in, country music blaring.

“You’re supposed to be an adult,” Waudby says, laughing, as Justine rolls her eyes and returns to her phone.

They were tired of the sirens in Peterborough and enjoy the peaceful Omemee. “You can actually hear crickets at night.”

The two went to school together in the fall of 2011. Waudby finished last spring and is in the throes of a job search in a tough market. She was interviewed for a job with legal aid in Peterborough, but hasn’t heard back.

“It takes its toll and at my age trying to get a job is not easy in any market,” the 48-year-old says. “I’m competing against young students that just came out of school like me, but a lawyer will take a student that they have 30 years they can invest in, where I wouldn’t have that.”

“It’s unfortunate, but I keep trying, keep putting my resume out there. It’s all you can do.”

Waudby completed a work placement with Nathan Gotlieb in Toronto last summer, where she helped out with family law. She helped him with his family law clients.

“She was really diligent, prompt — God she was early all the time — and really reliable,” Gotlieb says.

But the experience left Waudby drained.

“Family law is really emotional,” she says. “And a lot of it I could identify with, which makes it very difficult.”

Instead, she wants to work in criminal law, as she has 16 years of knowledge gained from her own unfathomable case.

Justine went to school for three semesters, but dropped out of her child social work program because she lost interest.

“I’d like to be a behavioural analyst,” Justine says. “I don’t know, maybe I watch too much Criminal Minds, but I like the idea of helping track down people who cause a lot of crime and pain.”

The two are drawn to crime — especially the horrific ones — because of what they’ve been through.

“Did you hear about the baby being killed and dropped in the dumpster?” Justine asks. “Or that guy who was hit over the head with a brick and stabbed for that video game Grand Theft Auto?”

And the struggles remain. Justine deals with depression, although she’s kept it at bay for a year now. They both go to the same counsellor, although Waudby hasn’t been lately.

“I have two children that very much depend on me,” Waudby says. “Not for food, just that I’ll always be there for them and I always will be. And that’s what keeps me going.”

Justine wants to move on with her life and leave the nest. Waudby won’t let her until she gets a job.

“Hopefully, one day, I can have my own office and you can come work for me,” Waudby says.

“I ain’t living with you for the rest of my life and working for you for the rest of my life,” Justine says.

The family will never be whole again. But with Jenna resting in one piece and her hair in those lockets, she will never be far from their hearts. 

Brenda Waudby denied compensation (2010)

Brenda Waudby denied compensation

NEWS Apr 01, 2010 Peterborough This Week
Brenda Waudby and Justine Traynor at the end of inquiry

Justine Traynor rests on her mother Brenda Waudby’s shoulder as they listen to the 150 recommendations made by the Goudge Inquiry. The inquiry into pediatric pathology looked at several cases, including that of the mishandling of the investigation into the death of Jenna Mellor, Justine’s little sister. – Heather Wiebe

(PETERBOROUGH) Brenda Waudby is tired of waiting for answers.

It’s been more than 13 years since the murder of her 21-month-old daughter, Jenna Mellor, at the hands of her teenaged babysitter.

Ms Waudby was originally charged with the crime, resulting in jail time and having her daughter, Justine Traynor, taken from her custody. Evidence from pathologist Dr. Charles Smith contributed to her conviction since he erroneously pinpointed the time of her fatal injury to have been while her daughter was in her care.

The work of Dr. Smith has since been questioned in many cases, leading to an inquiry which, among 169 recommendations, recommended compensation for victims.

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That was Oct. 1, 2008.

She and her daughter have both applied for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, but were denied last month.

Ms Waudby’s lawyer, Julie Kirkpatrick, is appealing the decision and says they are trying to get some compensation while the government figures out what they will give to the victims noted in the inquiry, which is taking a long time. She says they both were hoping to head to college in the fall.

On top of the compensation, Ms Waudby says the Coroner’s Office and the Hospital for Sick Children still have her daughter’s rib cage, information she’s only learned recently.

‘Now I have to live with the fact that my baby’s body isn’t whole. She cannot be resting as she should be. And I am unable to lay her to complete rest until after the conclusion of the civil proceedings,’ she wrote in a letter.

Ms Kirkpatrick states in a letter to Attorney General Chris Bentley that Ms Waudby’s denial of compensation is ‘unfortunately, consistent with a long pattern of government inaction and failure.’

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‘The recent decision of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is absolutely shocking. I cannot understand or fathom the reasoning for this decision,’ stated Ms Waudby in her letter.

She went on to state the death of her daughter has torn her life to pieces. The inquiry, led by Justice Stephen Goudge, meant she had to hear information and see pictures surrounding the assault and sexual assault of her young daughter.

“I have had to develop a public face. I have had to learn to fight the system. I spent years of my life fighting for a Public Inquiry and it happened, finally, after over a decade,” the letter reads.

Ms Waudby highlights her life has not changed in the last two years, despite the recommendation for compensation. The government, she claims, is dragging their feet on the issue and she’s tired of waiting to see what they will do.

“The government has implemented many recommendations but the victims appear to have been forgotten completely,” she states.

Following the inquiry, the Honourable Coulter Osborne was put in charge of leading the Dr. Smith Compensation Framework Advice Team, which will advise the Attorney General of how to compensate the victims.

“We don’t know anything where that’s at,” says Ms Kirkpatrick. “It’s been two years.”

Brendan Crawley, senior co-ordinator of media relations with the Attorney General’s office, states in an e-mail the committee is preparing its advice.

“We want to get the committee’s recommendations as soon as possible so we can proceed in the fairest way possible,” he states in an e-mail.

Brenda Waudby says report answers many questions, now time to move on (2008)


Brenda Waudby says report answers many questions, now time to move on

NEWS Oct 02, 2008 Peterborough This Week
Brenda Waudby and Justine Traynor at the end of inquiry

Justine Traynor rests on her mother Brenda Waudby’s shoulder as they listen to the 150 recommendations made by the Goudge Inquiry. The inquiry into pediatric pathology looked at several cases, including that of the mishandling of the investigation into the death of Jenna Mellor, Justine’s little sister. – Heather Wiebe

Brenda Waudby and her daughter Justine Traynor appeared in Toronto on Wednesday to hear the results of the inquiry into pediatric forensic pathology in Ontario.

The report went beyond the errors made by Dr. Charles Smith, the pathologist whose expert opinion helped wrongly put Ms Waudby and others in jail.

“This report has definitely answered a lot of questions, but there are more,” said Ms Waudby.

Though she had only recently seen the report, she said she is pleased with what she saw.

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The commissioner, Stephen Goudge, made a speech at noon after discussing the report with the families of the victims of the cases he examined.

“The core reality of this inquiry is that the sudden unexpected death of a child is a shattering event for parents, for family and for the entire community,” he said.

“If something suggests that a criminal act may be involved, the devastation takes on a further tragic dimension.”

Ms Waudby and Ms Traynor appeared calm and composed during both the speech and a later interview.

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Pediatric Forsenic Pathology in Ontario’s recommendations

“This is about our lives that we get to live once and only once,” said Ms Traynor.

Ms Waudby was charged for the 1997 murder of her daughter, Jenna Mellor. The charges were later withdrawn when the evidence Dr. Smith had used to determine when 21-month-old Jenna’s fatal blow was given was disputed, shifting the blame to the babysitter, who has since been found guilty of manslaughter.

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Ms Waudby wouldn’t discuss too much about what questions she still has, but did say those questions revolve around the crown attorney and the Children’s Aid Society, of which she said the whole children’s aid system has problems.

She said he isn’t angry with Dr. Smith, her anger lies with the system that let these mistakes happen.

“It affects every aspect of my life,” she said, adding that it has also greatly affected Ms Traynor’s life.

A civil suit has been filed in Peterborough courts. Ms Waudby wouldn’t say exactly who she is suing. Her lawyer, Michael Jordan, an associate with Adair Morse LLP Barristers and Solicitors, said the amount they are seeking will be a few million dollars. Thomas McEwan, Mr. Jordan’s partner, will also be representing Ms Waudby.

The report recommended compensation for the families involved, but did not recommend an amount. It is up to the government whether or not compensation will be given out.

Ms Waudby said she is grateful that compensation was recommended. She said it has been hard for her family to lose a daughter and a sister, and it was hard to be charged with her murder, and for her daughter to have her mother charged and sent to jail. Ms Traynor spent two years in foster homes while her mother was in jail.

Hon Goudge made a total of 169 recommendations.

“When pathology is flawed, or there is a failure of the oversight required to ensure its quality, the consequences are devastating,” he said.

“Sadly, in the years I examined, both occurred in Ontario.”

He said the challenge now is to correct the failings that allowed these mistakes to happen. A big part of this, he said, is creating a professional forensic pathology service in the province, a governing council for the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

Another recommendation he made is that when performing an autopsy, the forensic pathologist should ‘think truth’ and not ‘think dirty’ to help emphasize objectivity.

“Taken together, my recommendations are the steps that I have concluded must be taken to restore and enhance public confidence in pediatric forensic pathology in Ontario and its future use in the criminal justice system,” he said.

For Ms Waudby, she plans to go back to school and take paralegal courses.

“I think now, after 11 years, I’m going to take some time to heal, and to help my family heal,” Ms Waudby said.

To read all the recommendations, click here.