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Days before four-year-old Amanda Simpson would turn up at a B.C. hospital in a coma, her sister was telling a trusted adult she was being beaten by their stepfather.
“Please save me,” she said.
That adult immediately contacted a local child welfare agency in Prince George, B.C., for the second time in three weeks.
Despite years of complaints about suspected abuse in the home, a child protection worker would respond by saying she was not going to investigate. Instead, she suggested Amanda’s sister needed to be counselled on “truth and fiction.”
On Oct. 30, 1999, Amanda was taken to a Prince George hospital by her mom and stepfather. She was in a coma and had suffered massive head and abdominal injuries.
A pediatrician would later testify that Amanda had a fractured skull, bleeding in and outside her brain, a broken collarbone, retinal hemorrhaging and severe hypothermia. Amanda died three days later in hospital.
The night Amanda suffered those injuries, she was in the care of her stepfather while her mom was at work.
Prince George RCMP charged him in connection with her injuries shortly after the incident, but those charges were stayed when Amanda died. No new charges were ever laid.
Her stepfather told RCMP Amanda had fallen down the stairs, and a short time later, he had slipped while holding Amanda in the tub.
In 2004, the case was closed, but in 2007, a coroner’s inquest was held to determine what happened to Amanda.
Three medical experts testified Amanda's injuries didn't match her stepfather’s version of events and her severe injuries could not have been caused by falls. The inquest eventually classified her death as a homicide.
A short time later, Prince George RCMP told local media Amanda’s file was actually “not closed” and that officers would review a transcript of the coroner’s inquest.
To date, no charges have been laid in Amanda’s death, and her family are searching for answers.
Aimee Simpson was three years old when her sister died, and she believes she was killed.
“I know she would have grown tall and beautiful like all my other sisters,” said Aimee. “I think about her a lot and I miss her very much.”
Amanda was Métis, and Aimee thinks it’s time for a federal inquiry into murdered and missing women. She said it “should have been the next step quite a while ago.”
Aimee is still hoping for answers in her sister’s death and says eventually, she hopes to see the “inside of a courtroom.”
“It hurts me to know my sister never got to live her live, and even more that no one cares to figure out why,” said Aimee.
Prince George RCMP failed to respond to multiple requests about the status of Amanda’s case.
CBC News continues to investigate missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada, looking at the unsolved cases and telling the stories of the families and communities.