Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boy's plea for a friend

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In an emotional letter to government officials, 12-year-old Sebastian Bell pleaded to have his close friend and the friend's five siblings returned to their foster parents. Bell, who is the son of hoteliers Ida Albo and Rick Bell, lives near the foster family.

His letter has been edited to remove the names of the foster children and the foster parents:

"To whom it may concern,

"I ran in to my good friend (the 11-year-old foster child) and (two of his sisters) on Friday at Wal-Mart. It looked like (the friend) and his sisters were crying a lot and it looked like they were devastated. Usually (the friend) is very confident and happy but when I saw him he couldn't even look you in the eyes. He and his sisters looked so terrible I almost cried.

"That was the worst I have ever seen him since a year ago when I met him at the park. (The friend) has lots of friends in the neighborhood besides myself and we are all wondering why someone would take (the friend) away from his loving parents (the foster couple), and this wonderful environment.

"When I thought of government I thought of helping and protecting kids, not destroying their lives. And something else really bothers me. In the Free Press on Saturday it stated that the agency that took (the friend) and his siblings didn't put them in a hotel and that they were together. The funny thing about that is that when I talked to (the friend) and his two sisters at Wal-Mart, he said that he didn't know where (his other three siblings) were and that they were put in a hotel. Also they were not allowed to use the phone and one time when (the friend) did call his parents he got yelled at.

"(The sister) said "It was like being in a jail, we weren't allowed out of our room."

Sincerely,

Sebastian Bell

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 25, 2008 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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