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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/10/2013 (2500 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Touching words are being shared through social media for a teen girl who has died following a suicide attempt at the Brandon jail.
Family and friends have been posting loving messages on the girl’s Facebook page.
“I am so grateful that I hugged you and told you that I loved you the last time I saw you … rest in peace and I (heart) you my beautiful Angel,” wrote a woman who identified herself as the girl’s aunt.
On Friday, a Manitoba Justice spokesperson confirmed that a youth who attempted suicide at the Brandon Correctional Centre last Saturday has since died in hospital.
Crisis counsellors remained on hand for jail staff and inmates on Friday, and the spokesperson said jail staff were providing spiritual care to the girl’s family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time,” the spokesperson stated.
Sources identify the deceased as a 16-year-old aboriginal girl who the Brandon Sun has chosen not to name at this time. She’s said to have been a ward of Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services and was living at a group home prior to her detention.
Court documents indicate that she was pending on Liquor Control Act offences and theft charges. But she was in custody on a charge of mischief and allegations of breaching bail.
So far, the details surrounding her death — such as the nature of the suicide attempt and cause of death — have not emerged.
Manitoba Justice said the Youth Criminal Justice Act and privacy legislation prohibit the release of the girl’s name, age or method of suicide.
The department simply said the youth was detained at the Brandon jail on Sept. 28 when the suicide attempt was made and later died in hospital.
The Brandon Police Service confirms that it’s investigating, but no foul play is suspected.
While it may take months, details should eventually emerge as the Manitoba Justice spokesperson indicated that, in the case of a death in custody, the province’s chief medical examiner must call an inquest.
An internal review is already underway, the spokesperson said, with an aim to preventing similar situations in the future.
The Office of the Children’s Advocate will also hold a review if the child or the family has been involved with CFS within 12 months prior to death.
The girl’s family couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but family and friends have posted loving messages on her Facebook page.
“I have trouble accepting the fact that you’re gone … so I won’t. It’ll be like … we went for a while without seeing each other. But I can understand why God woulda wanted you close to him, cause you were truly an angel on earth,” wrote one poster.
The girl was remembered for her beautiful smile she wore despite her troubled past.
Her lawyer once told court that she’d suffered a number of traumatic events.
In Brandon court in June 2011, she pleaded guilty to eight charges that included break and enter and theft. In perhaps the most serious of those offences, she and another girl had stolen a $30,000 SUV. Up to that point, she had no record.
During sentencing, her lawyer, Philip Sieklicki, described the girl’s background.
She’d been a ward of CFS much of her life and lived at two First Nations near Portage la Prairie before being placed in a foster home. She’d reportedly complained to CFS of being sexually assaulted while in a foster placement, but the complaint wasn’t pursued as it wasn’t corroborated.
However, Sieklicki said that at one point she was the victim of another sexual assault for which her assailant was convicted.
She moved to Brandon three to four years ago to live with relatives.
Sieklicki said the girl’s uncle had committed suicide at some point. Shortly before her June 2011 court appearance, her father, who she was close to, passed away.
On at least one occasion, police issued a missing person bulletin that described her as “a child in need of protection.” She was later found safe.
Despite those troubles, Sieklicki said, she was a good student who won awards for academic excellence.
Manitoba Justice hasn’t indicated whether the girl was under any suicide watch at the time of the attempt.
There is an indication that she’d held suicidal thoughts, however, which was revealed by coincidence in court on Thursday during sentencing for a boy who dealt with a number of his own charges.
His lawyer, Sieklicki, indicated that the boy had breached a court order during a brief release from custody. He’d turned to drink on Monday after learning of the girl’s suicide attempt.
“He indicates that he had been in custody with an individual … who told him that she was going to commit suicide,” Sieklicki said. “That, unfortunately, did happen.”
It’s not clear when, and under what circumstances, the girl made that statement.
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