If social workers had kept better tabs on her family, a little girl might have been permanently taken away from the mother who would help beat her to death, say newly released sections of an internal review.
April 23 would have been Phoenix Sinclair's 13th birthday. Instead, a public inquiry heard new details about how the young girl fell through the cracks of Manitoba child welfare even after a brutal beating ended her life when she was five.
The last Winnipeg social worker to check on Phoenix Sinclair, three months before the young girl was beaten to death, left the family's home without seeing Phoenix and without even stepping foot inside the apartment.
Seven years have passed since Phoenix Sinclair was murdered and hidden in a shallow grave in Manitoba. On Sept. 5, 2012 the inquiry into her death began in Winnipeg. It’s the first time a public inquiry on the child welfare system has been held in Manitoba. Five-year-old Sinclair was killed in the basement of a home on the Fisher River First Nation in June of 2005. She wasn’t determined to be missing until nine months after her death. Her mother, Samantha Kematch, and her mother’s boyfriend, Karl Wesley McKay, have been convicted of first-degree murder in her death. At the time of her death, Sinclair was under the supervision of Child and Family Services. The inquiry plans to examine what assistance Sinclair’s family was receiving from CFS, what factors played a role in her death and why it took months to discover she was missing.