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Boy Dies in Care

August 2, 2007 permalink

Two-year-old Gage Guimond died in his foster home in Winnipeg. Other news reports suggest he suffered sustained physical abuse. Over a hundred people attended his funeral, making it harder in Manitoba for child protectors to bury their mistakes.



August 1, 2007

Toddler mourned

Memories of 'happy boy' recalled


Natasha Guimond
Natasha Guimond, mother of two-year-old Gage Guimond, cries at his funeral yesterday. (Chris Procaylo, Sun Media)

A two-year-old boy was remembered as "a bright ray of sunshine" at his funeral yesterday.

Gage Dakota Guimond died on July 22, 2007, the day after his second birthday and two days after he was taken to hospital in critical condition.

Stuffed toy animals, flowers and a blanket surrounded his small coffin at the funeral service. Photos of the boy playing in a bathtub, eating cake and smiling while sitting on a beach faced the room filled with mourners. A large orange card featuring a child's writing and the words "We love you very much" sat close to the coffin.

Charged with manslaughter in Gage's death is Shirley Guimond, 52, his great-aunt. She had Gage and his three-year-old sister in her care at the time of the incident. A call was made to 911 saying a child had fallen down a flight of stairs.

As mourners entered the room for Gage's funeral, a musician sang and played an acoustic guitar, dedicating songs to Gage, his family and foster family.

Gage's mother, Natasha Guimond, sobbed, "I can't. I can't," as she was led into the room, braced by people who supported her as she struggled to walk.

Natasha temporarily gave up custody of Gage and his three-year-old sister more than a year ago because she wasn't ready to raise them by herself at age 18, she told Sun Media in a previous interview.


Pastor Larry Laquette, who conducted the funeral service, asked people to pray for every one of Gage's family members at the funeral. He asked for healing and restoration in people's lives.

Gage's former foster parents, Russ and Debbie Debassige, spoke about their time with Gage and how he came with them when they went bowling, fishing and camping. "He was a real water baby," said Debbie Debassige. "He loved the beach."

"Everyone who sees the photos at the front can see Gage was a happy boy," said Russ Debassige. "We fell in love with Gage."

While learning to walk, Gage also enjoyed visiting his foster siblings as they went to and from school. "He was always a bright ray of sunshine," said Debbie Debassige, adding the sound of drums soothed the young boy.

As mourners filed past the coffin at the end of the service, nearby musicians sang and beat on drums.

A trust fund for Natasha Guimond's surviving daughter has been set up at the Bank of Montreal at 1010 McPhillips St.

Source: Winnipeg Sun