Disabled B.C. girl left with dead mom for days

The brother of a 15-year-old disabled B.C. girl says he is shocked to learn she spent up to nine days in a mobile home with the body of her dead mother before being found.

The brother of a 15-year-old disabled B.C. girl says he is shocked to learn she spent up to nine days in a mobile home with the body of her dead mother before being found.

A neighbour discovered the girl and the woman's body in a Chilliwack trailer park Sept. 15, said Mike Prentice, 32, one of the girl's brothers.

Prentice said it's possible the mother had been dead as long as nine days.

He said he and his brother are angry and frustrated that, despite their efforts, more wasn't done to help their sister, who has Down syndrome.

Prentice said the girl had been living with their troubled mother despite the family's warnings to B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development that their mother abused drugs and alcohol and lived in dirty and chaotic conditions in the trailer.

Prentice said he became so concerned after visiting his sister and mother in July, he took his sister out of the home and called police, who told him to call the ministry.

"Social services said, 'Thank you. We're going to do a survey within the next three to four days'," said Prentice. "They did their survey within two days and told us to, 'Get her back, or your mom's charging you with kidnapping.'"

Girl now in government care

He said it was evident his sister did not understand what had happened to their mother after she died.

"[My sister] tried to take care of her," said Prentice. "She tried to feed my mom her pills. She tried to make her better, tried to open up a macaroni box and sprinkle cheese on uncooked macaroni and feed it to my mom."

Mike Prentice, says he warned B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development to not leave his disabled sister in her mother's care. ((CBC))
Prentice said his sister lost a lot of weight during the ordeal.

"I seen how small my sister was. She was normally 140 and was down to 90 pounds or something like that," he said.

The provincial government is prevented from discussing specifics of the case, Minister of Children and Family Development Mary Polak told CBC News on Thursday.

"The regional complaints consultant did conduct a full review, including interviews of staff, and has provided a letter to the brothers outlining the actions they have taken," Polak said.

The Prentice brothers said they have not received a letter from the ministry.

It was obvious something went wrong with the family and the outcome will have long-term consequences, said Kirk Crowther, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.

This girl, now 15, was found in a Chilliwack, B.C., trailer home after spending several days alone with her dead mother. ((CBC))

"Something fell off the rails here," said Crowther. "Unfortunately, it led to a tragedy for the entire family and something that person with Down syndrome is going to have to live with her entire life."

The girl is in government care, but it hasn't been determined who will look after her in the future, said Prentice.

With files from the CBC's Greg Rasmussen