Newspaper article The Canadian Press

A List of Key Events in the Life of Phoenix Sinclair, Who Was Killed at Age Five

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

A List of Key Events in the Life of Phoenix Sinclair, Who Was Killed at Age Five

Article excerpt

Key events in the life of Phoenix Sinclair

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WINNIPEG - Key events in the life of Phoenix Sinclair, who was beaten to death at the age of five after being returned to her mother by social workers:

-- April 23, 2000. Phoenix Victoria Hope Sinclair is born to Samantha Kematch and Steve Sinclair. Both young parents have a history of violence and are unprepared to care for the baby. Phoenix is taken into foster care.

-- Sept. 5, 2000. Phoenix is returned to her parents under a plan that requires Kematch to undergo a formal psychological assessment and for the couple to have regular visits from an in-home support worker. The plan is not enforced and social workers have no direct contact with the family for four months.

-- February 2001. Social worker Delores Chief-Abigosis meets with the family. A plan is drawn up for more regular supervision, but four more months go by without direct contact.

-- July 15, 2001. Echo, an infant girl born to Kematch and Sinclair three months earlier, dies from complications from pneumonia. There is no indication she was abused. Sinclair and Kematch have separated. Sinclair has custody of Phoenix, but he begins leaving her more frequently with two friends, Kim Edwards and Rohan Stephenson, or with his sister Jenny. Social workers are aware of the arrangement, but do not keep track of who is caring for the girl.

-- October 2001. Social workers Kathy Epps and Lorna Hansen decide to close the file on Phoenix, even though no worker has seen the girl for months.

-- February 2003. Phoenix is brought to hospital with an infection caused by a piece of Styrofoam lodged in her nose for three months. The hospital reports a possible case of neglect. Social worker Laura Forrest tries a few times to visit Phoenix at Sinclair's home, but no one comes to the door or she is told by Sinclair that Phoenix is staying with friends.

-- June 2003. Social workers take Phoenix from Sinclair's home where there has been a day-long drinking party. Sinclair is told to get alcohol counselling before he can get Phoenix back. That condition is not enforced and he regains custody within a few months. He continues to leave Phoenix with friends.

-- April 2004. Kematch, who has been out of the picture for months, shows up at Stephenson's home and takes Phoenix. Social workers had told him not to give Phoenix to Kematch without telling them, but he ignores the warning.

-- May 13, 2004. Social worker Tracy Forbes goes to Kematch's apartment. A man who identifies himself as Wes answers the door and says Kematch and Phoenix are out. Unbeknownst to Forbes, Wes is Karl Wesley McKay, a man with a long history of domestic violence that is outlined in the family services central database.

-- July 13, 2004. Forbes and colleague Kathleen Marks visit Kematch at home. Kematch says her main financial support is her boyfriend. …

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