Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accuracy of report about tot's murder questioned

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AN inquest into the killing of a 21-month old infant resumed Monday, with questions being raised about the accuracy of a special investigative report into the Awasis aboriginal child and family services agency.

Jaylene Redhead was killed by her mother, Nicole, in November 2009 while they were living in a government-funded native women's shelter.

Nicole Redhead pleaded guilty to manslaughter after she admitted to suffocating Jaylene while living at the shelter under Awasis' supervision.

Justine Grain, the special investigator with the Office of the Child Advocate, reviewed Awasis' handling of the child and concluded in a report the agency failed to ensure the safety of the child and hadn't met the basic standards of care management.

Under questioning from Awasis counsel Jeff Harris, Grain said she wrote her report largely by reviewing the file history and without interviewing any of the Awasis care workers who dealt with Jaylene and her mother.

Harris said the Awasis case workers would have had information about the agency's plan for the infant and her mother, which was not included in the case files.

"You were the investigator," Harris said. "Your job was to get the facts. You did not get the facts."

While Nicole Redhead told the inquest in December she felt abandoned by Awasis, Harris referred to a self-evaluation written by Nicole Redhead who said Awasis had provided her with all the support and help she needed.

The inquest continues.

Redhead killed her daughter by placing her hand over her mouth and holding it there for up to two minutes. After the baby's body went limp, Nicole Redhead placed her in her crib, where she was not discovered for several hours.

Awasis seized Jaylene in October 2007, shortly after her birth and obtained a series of guardianship orders. By December 2008, Awasis supported the child's return to Nicole Redhead in a controlled setting, living at a treatment centre under Awasis supervision.

Redhead's two older children were seized by child welfare authorities and she was pregnant with a fourth child at the time of the killing. That child was born and is a permanent ward.

At Nicole Redhead's sentencing hearing, it was revealed Jaylene suffered more than 30 separate injuries damaging nearly every part of her body in the days before she died.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2013 B5

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