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Foster Child Dies with Name

August 6, 2008 permalink

The Ontario press has departed from its usual silence and is reporting full details and names in the death of a child in non-parental care. At least initially, it appeared to be a case of foster care without involvement of the child protection system. In other stories, the press has learned that a court made the foster mother, Donna Irving, the legal guardian of the now-dead child, Katelynn Sampson. The press is investigating whether Toronto Children's Aid or Native Child and Family Services had a role in the case.



Katelynn Sampson
Katelynn Sampson was found dead in a west-end apartment early Sunday morning.

Injuries on girl's body suggest past abuse: police

Toronto police say a seven-year-old girl found slain over the weekend was found with injuries that suggest she had suffered physical abuse in the past.

Homicide investigators were expected to announce the exact cause of Katelynn Sampson's death by Tuesday afternoon, but the autopsy results were not yet ready.

"The autopsy is taking as long as it has just because of the nature of the injuries," Det. Sgt. Steve Ryan told reporters early Tuesday evening.

"There are many of them, and they're complicated."

Ryan is appealing to anyone who knew the little girl since May 2007 to contact police.

"I'm hearing a lot of third-hand information which I can describe to you as disturbing, but no one has contacted me and I'd like to speak first-hand with all of these people," Ryan said.

"There have been suggestions that Katelynn has been seen in the past with marks on her body."

Katelynn was discovered by police after someone called 911 early Sunday morning saying the little girl had choked on a piece of food.

When officers arrived, they found the girl's lifeless body and saw bruises all over her body.

Authorities have not speculated about what killed the girl.

Donna Irving
Donna Irving, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Katelynn Sampson, is seen in this court sketch.

Katelynn had been staying with her legal guardian while her mother dealt with some personal issues.

The guardian, 29-year-old Donna Irving, was arrested over the weekend and charged with second-degree murder. She remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 15.

According to police, Irving has a criminal record for violent offences. There are convictions for robbery and assault.

The victim's mother said she and the accused had been friends for about 10 years.

Meanwhile, neighbours continue to gather in front of the building where the body was found to lay flowers and notes of sympathy at a makeshift memorial to the girl.

With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman

Source: CTV