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CFS workers don't remember searching database about Phoenix

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Nearly a dozen online searches for Phoenix Sinclair were done by child welfare employees on Aug. 24 2005, electronic records presented at the inquiry into her July 2005 death heard today.

On Monday, a worried relative testified to spending a day on the phone with child welfare agencies trying to find out about Phoenix Sinclair's whereabouts after not seeing her for months. The witness, who cannot be identified, said the five-year-old girl hadn't been seen after moving to the Fisher River First Nation with her mother, Samantha Kematch, stepfather Karl McKay and their newborn baby.

Kematch and McKay abused and tortured Phoenix, who died in July 2005. Her death wasn't discovered until March 2006 when her remains were found in a shallow grave at the Fisher River dump. The couple was convicted of first-degree murder in 2008. The province ordered an inquiry into Phoenix's death in 2011 to find out how she slipped through Manitoba's child-welfare safety net.

In 2005 when Kematch was pregnant with her fifth child, she made several trips to Winnipeg with the newborn for prenatal care but never brought Phoenix. The witness Monday told the inquiry Kematch was verbally abusive to Phoenix and McKay was physically abusive to Kematch.

Concerned about Phoenix's wellbeing and whereabouts, on Aug. 24, 2005 calls were made to child welfare agencies around the province, the witness said. Workers at Winnipeg Child and Family Services and Metis Child and Family Services who searched the CFS online information system for Phoenix on that day more than seven years ago told the inquiry they don't recall conducting the searches or why they did them.

Their testimony continues today.

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