May 24, 2015


Local

No record of social worker handling Phoenix case, inquiry hears

The social worker who took over the Phoenix Sinclair case in the fall of 2000 can't say why there is no record of her having visited the baby or done any work on girl's case for nearly three months.

Delores Chief Abigosis told the inquiry into the death of the little girl in care that she was assigned to the case in November 2000, when she started working for Child and Family Services.

Delores Chief Abigosis (rear) leaves the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry for a lunch break Monday while her advocate tries to block her face from the media.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Delores Chief Abigosis (rear) leaves the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry for a lunch break Monday while her advocate tries to block her face from the media. Photo Store

Phoenix Sinclair is shown in a family photo released by the Commission of Inquiry looking into her 2005 death.

HANDOUT

Phoenix Sinclair is shown in a family photo released by the Commission of Inquiry looking into her 2005 death.

Just because there are no notes of her having done anything with the file from Nov. 17, 2000 to February 2001 doesn't mean she didn't work on the case, she testified this morning.

Phoenix was born in April 2000 and taken into care at the hospital. Her parents, Samantha Kematch and Steven Sinclair, weren't prepared for the baby, and Kematch -- who had another child apprehended two years earlier -- hid the pregnancy.

Child and Family Services worked with the couple and came up with a six-month plan that would allow them to keep their daughter, which included requirements such as taking parenting classes, meeting with a social worker on a regular basis and having an in-home support worker come to their home twice a week to mentor and train them.

The six-month plan was dated Sept. 5, 2000, when the troubled young couple got Phoenix back, and was to expire in March 2001.

Chief Abigosis said she doesn't know why there are no notes of her having any meetings with Phoenix and her parents or any other contact connected to the case that was supposed to be monitored.

She said she has no recollection of it or what she did during that time to make sure the parents were meeting the terms of the six-month agreement that returned Phoenix to their care.

Phoenix died in June 2005 after repeated beatings left her with broken bones from her pelvis to her head. Kematch and her common-law husband, Karl McKay, were convicted of first-degree murder. Evidence at their trial showed they had abused and neglected the girl, caging her and keeping her in a cold, dark basement, sometimes forcing her to eat her own vomit and shooting her with a BB gun.

Chief Abigosis's testimony continues today.

History

Updated on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 1:32 PM CST: Corrects reference to six-month plan requirements.

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