Family seeks answers over man's in-custody death
Man taken into custody at Victoria Hospital as he waited for medical treatment
Posted: Dec 4, 2012 9:37 PM CST
Last Updated: Dec 4, 2012 10:06 PM CST
The family of Billy Ballantyne, 44, is anxious to know more about how the man died while in police custody in Prince Albert, just hours after being arrested at the local hospital.
"I want to know what happened," Cynthia Ballantyne, the man's wife, told CBC News Tuesday. "It's going to bother me for a while."
'They should have just kept him and tried to work with him.'—Cynthia Ballantyne
According to police, Ballantyne was taken into custody around 6:35 a.m. Thursday morning when security at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert complained about some sort of disturbance.
Barely two hours later, police noticed the man was having trouble breathing in his jail cell. An ambulance was called and Ballantyne was taken back to hospital where he died a short time later.Police said they picked up a man after receiving a complaint from security at Victoria Hospital. While he was in custody he suffered some sort of medical distress and was taken back to hospital where he died. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)
"I can't understand why they took him to the cells," his wife said. "They should have just kept him and tried to work with him."
According to family, Ballantyne — who is from Canoe Lake — was visiting family on the Little Red River First Nation and was not well in the days before he died.
They said he had AIDS and tuberculosis and in the days leading up to last Thursday was in pain, incoherent and only wanted to sleep.
Mabel Ballantyne, the man's sister, told CBC News that she finally called for an ambulance around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, as it was clear to her that her brother needed medical attention.
"He was staggering and they thought he was drunk," she recalled. "And I said, 'No, he's delirious, like he's not all there.'"Billy Ballantyne's wife Cynthia and children Lawrence, Jade, and Ashton. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)
Ballantyne was taken to hospital in Prince Albert and the next time family heard about him was in a phone call from police informing them that he had died.
The family claims they were not told that he had been arrested while at the hospital.
They also claim his body had bruises and marks that were not there when he went to the hospital.
Family members added that, as of Tuesday, no police officers nor anyone from the health region had been in contact with them since Ballantyne's death.
"When nobody wants to tell you what happened between that time, it's just a big void," Mabel Ballantyne said. "It's just blank there. We don't know what's going on."
Police have said the man was not facing criminal charges, despite being arrested.
The Ballantynes had been married for seven years and had three children: 7-year-old twins — a boy and a girl — and a 5-year-old boy.
"He cared about everybody," his wife said. "He liked to help out people. He was a caring and loving father."With files from CBC's Ryan Pilon
Latest Saskatchewan News Headlines
- Fire destroys hotel in Lafleche, Sask.
- Fire has destroyed a hotel in Lafleche, Sask. more »
- Work could soon begin on oft-delayed Regina condo project
- Work is set to begin on the much-anticipated and oft-delayed Capital Pointe condominium project in downtown Regina. more »
- Man assaulted with hammer on Saskatoon's west side
- Police are investigating a Tuesday night brawl that sent one man to hospital with serious injuries. more »
- Blades could skate into final with win tonight
- The Saskatoon Blades are one win away from the final at the Memorial Cup. more »
Top News Headlines
- Ford ally says mayor told to limit comments on alleged crack video
- Legal advice may be behind Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's decision to stay silent in the wake of allegations he was recorded smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. more »
- Oklahoma residents begin to return home after deadly tornado
- Rescue workers raced to complete the search for survivors and the dead in the Oklahoma City suburb where a mammoth tornado destroyed countless homes, cleared lots down to bare red earth and claimed 24 lives, including those of nine children. more »
- Liberals allege interference in 'tainted' Duffy report
- Liberal Senator Jim Munson, a member of the Senate's internal economy committee that dealt with Senator Mike Duffy's expenses audit, says an original report on the audit was changed and alleges the Prime Minister's Office may have had something to do with the "whitewash." more »
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter
- Sharlene Bosma told more than 1,000 people at the public memorial service for her slain husband, Tim Bosma, about the love they shared. more »
- Controversy swirls around chief who sexually assaulted teen
- Regina OKs Albert Street nightclub
- Missing Biggar-area man's body recovered from slough
- RCMP seek suspect accused of assault on teen
- Singer who flubbed U.S. anthem returns for redemption
- Blades could skate into final with win tonight
- Aboriginal woman settles lawsuit over 3½ years solitary confinement
- Officials promote Sask. carbon capture project
- Train carrying crude oil derails east of Saskatoon