Woman accused in baby’s death not mentally stable, mother says

A Winnipeg woman accused of killing her newborn daughter refused to believe she was pregnant and doesn’t understand what has happened because she is mentally unwell, her mother claims.

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A Winnipeg woman accused of killing her newborn daughter refused to believe she was pregnant and doesn’t understand what has happened because she is mentally unwell, her mother claims.

Jeanene Rosa Moar, 31, was charged Tuesday with manslaughter and concealing the body of a child, after a dead baby girl was discovered in a North End garbage bin on May 3.

Police believe the infant, whom they referred to as “Baby Moar,” was alive when she was put in the bin in a back lane between Boyd and Redwood avenues, west of Powers Street.

FACEBOOK Jeanene Rosa Moar

“People are saying bad things about her, but nobody knows the truth about what happened,” Moar’s mother, Charlene, told the Free Press Thursday. “Jeanene is not mentally stable. She’s not well.

“Everybody is judging her… but (she has a) medical history. A jail cell is not what Jeanene needs. A hospital that is going to care for her is what she needs, mentally.”

Moar’s two sons were apprehended after they were born years ago.

Charlene, who lives in Winnipeg, learned details of the baby’s death as she mourned her daughter, Danielle, who died earlier this week.

“I’m going through so much. One of my daughters just died, and I’m going through this with Jeanene,” she said, noting she is arranging a funeral for Danielle. “It’s rough. It’s a lot for me to comprehend right now.”

Charlene said she didn’t find out about the pregnancy from Moar. Her daughter didn’t believe she was pregnant, despite attending medical appointments.

“She said, ‘I’m gaining weight, I’m not pregnant.’ If you told her she was pregnant, she would get angry,” her mother said. “We knew she was pregnant. She refused to believe it. Obviously, she must have known, but in her state of mind, I don’t know if she believed it. All I know is she has a sickness.”

Charlene denied her daughter has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, but acknowledged Moar has struggled with drugs, which have affected her brain “even more,” and lived on the streets at times.

Moar was receiving help from a non-profit social services agency in Winnipeg that helps people with neuro-developmental disorders, including FASD, Charlene said.

When Moar was sentenced to a month in jail in 2018 for stealing a car, a court heard she was diagnosed with FASD, struggled with addictions to methamphetamine and alcohol and was homeless.

ERIK PINDERA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Joshua Dare, 16, holds a feather at the vigil Wednesday in the alley behind Boyd Avenue for a baby that was found dead in a garbage bin on May 3.

Charlene doesn’t know how many months pregnant her daughter was when the baby was born.

The mother didn’t attend medical appointments with Moar because she didn’t want to become attached to the unborn child, she said.

“When Jeanene gets pregnant, those babies are automatically going to Child and Family Services,” she said in an interview by phone.

Moar’s two sons — one now about 12 years old and the other about 10 — were immediately taken into care after they were born, said Charlene.

“(Jeanene) is not capable of taking care of children,” she said. “She has the mind of a child.”

According to the grandmother, who has never met the boys, both were apprehended after birth alerts were issued.

In 2020, the province halted the practice, which was used to trigger a thorough assessment when an infant was born to a parent considered high-risk.

Moar was raised by her maternal grandmother in Teulon, about 50 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Her mother last saw her a couple of months ago.

ERIK PINDERA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Thunderbirdz, led by Johnny Houle, sing and drum at Wednesday's vigil held for a baby found dead in a garbage bin on May 3.

“We didn’t have a mother-daughter relationship. I’m her mother, but I’m more like a sister because I wasn’t the one who raised her. She’s not a bad person. Jeanene could not hurt a fly. She’s a very caring, loving person,” Charlene said.

Moar’s cousin, Karlie Moar, and other family members didn’t know she was pregnant because they barely see her or hear from her.

Some relatives learned of the allegations and manslaughter charge after they were announced by police.

“I feel hurt. I feel upset,” said Karlie, who lives in Teulon.

Their grandmother, who raised Moar, was aware of the pregnancy, she said.

“As far as I know, Jeanene was supposed to be living with our grandma in Teulon,” said Karlie.

Police said Baby Moar was born at a home in Garden City. The infant was dead when officers were called to the alley a few kilometres from the place of birth.

After Moar was arrested at a nearby residence in the North End, she was admitted to hospital for medical precautions.

Charlene believes her daughter was staying with a friend in the North End at the time of the arrest. She doesn’t know any details about the Garden City home or why her daughter was there, she said.

Moar has been in custody since she was arrested by the child-abuse unit on May 10.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES The family that rents a home on Boyd Avenue mourn after hearing the news of a baby found in their garbage bin.

She was re-arrested Tuesday at the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley, with police announcing the manslaughter charge Wednesday.

No one else has been charged.

The Moar family has been touched by a number of tragedies in recent years, relatives said.

Moar’s cousin, Eishia Hudson, 16, was fatally shot by Winnipeg police in April 2020 as officers responded to a robbery at a Liquor Mart.

chris.kitching@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @chriskitching

Chris Kitching
Reporter

As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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