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March 19, 2011 permalink
A teenaged foster girl without a name has been raped and murdered in Alberta. The police will not be charging anyone. Why not? You are not permitted to know anything about foster children under the Alberta Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. If this girl's case comes up again, we will identify her with the pseudonym SunGirl.
Teen's reserve death 'tore' foster family apart
Despite a brutal killing on the Sunchild First Nation near Rocky Mountain House, Alta., RCMP say they're not concerned about public safety.
A 15-year-old girl's body was found in a ditch on March 4 by a school bus driver travelling down a remote gravel road.
The girl cannot be named because she was living in foster care on the reserve at the time of the killing.
Residents say at some point during a party the night before, the teen was raped, beaten to death and left half-naked by the side of the road.
The girl's guardian, whose name must also be withheld because of the Alberta Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act's foster care provisions, said he heard there was drug use at the party, and he knew alcohol was involved.
"You should have met her. She was just like a little bright light," he said.
"She was a great kid. Amazing kid. But the way she went, she just didn't deserve it. It just tore this family apart."
A hard life
He was her foster parent, but he called her his granddaughter.
He said she had a hard life from the beginning.
"She had her legs and her arms broken. I don't know if they proved anything about who it was, but I know who it was," he said. "And then her mother hung herself and I don't know, to me it was nothing was right. It just was all wrong."
He said after the girl's mother died, she came to live with him.
But he said soon after she was moved to another foster home, where she was sexually abused at age three.
From there, he said, she drifted between a number of youth shelters and foster homes, including his.
He said he remembers a young girl that was full of love.
"She would wake up in the morning [and say], 'Good morning. I love you.' Of course … [I] had to [say] 'love you' and 'good morning,' and that's what she was looking for. Just somebody to say, 'Hi, I love you.' And that's it, you know."
But he said she wasn't content to stay in one place.
He said the girl traveled to Manitoba, hanging out with aboriginal gangs there before returning to Alberta, staying on a Hobbema reserve and in Red Deer before returning to his home.
"That day [March 3] I wanted to take her into town and have supper and come back. But, you know, it never happened."
No charges laid
One area woman, sister to the girl's guardian, knew the teen well. She said drugs and alcohol are a huge problem for young people on the reserve.
"The little kids are lost and forgotten, pushed aside.... When is it going to end?"
She said she heard that someone connected to the killing might have committed suicide.
RCMP Sgt. Chris Matechuk said investigators are aware of a second death, but he can't say if they are connected.
"I can say … that we are not concerned that there is a killer out there on the loose," said Matechuk.
He said drugs and gangs are an increasing problem on the Sunchild reserve.
No charges have been laid in the case.
Sunchild First Nation, which has an on-reserve population of 749, is located northwest of Rocky Mountain House, which is about 75 kilometres west of Red Deer.
Addendum: The girl was named in 2014 as Justine Cochrane.