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RCMP charge Manitoba foster father in child's death


CBC News

The foster father of a 13-month-old boy who died while in the care of a native-run social services agency has been charged with second-degree murder, RCMP said Wednesday.

Cameron Ouskan arrived at Gillam Hospital on Nov. 12, 2008, in life-threatening condition. The child was later airlifted to Thompson General Hospital but died of his injuries the following day. Police said an autopsy determined that Ouskan’s death was a homicide.

The boy was in the care of Awasis, an aboriginal child and family services agency that serves 12 First Nations. He was from Fox Lake, a small First Nation of about 125 people about 50 kilometres from Gillam, a town of 1,200 about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Ouskan was in foster care in Gillam for 10 months before his death.

The RCMP said their serious crime unit is looking into a separate incident that sent Ouskan to hospital in August 2008.

Roderick Tobie Blacksmith, 29, was arrested near Cross Lake on Tuesday. Police said he has been charged with second-degree murder and was to make a court appearance in Thompson.

Awasis spokeswoman Marie Lands said the agency followed up the earlier incident in August.

"We can advise that in the earlier incident there was both an agency assessment and an RCMP investigation that were done," she said. "All necessary checks were complete and on file for this foster family."

Since 1997, according to Manitoba Child and Family Services, 48 children who received care through the child welfare system have died as a result of homicide.

The death of Cameron Ouskan occurred following a major review of Manitoba's child welfare system prompted by the 2005 death of Phoenix Sinclair, 5.

Her parents were convicted of first-degree murder in December.

2009 Jan 14