Father strove to kill son and self, inquiry hears
An Edmonton father went to great lengths to seal himself and his son inside a basement bedroom so he could open a canister of carbon monoxide gas and kill both of them, an inquiry into their deaths heard Monday.
Det. Brent Dahlseide said city police had to take the door off the hinges to get inside the bedroom in the northeast home, because Jeffrey Bostick had jammed a two-by-four against the knob and tied a rope around it to keep it shut.
Bostick, 39, and his severely autistic son Jeremy, 11, both died within minutes of his releasing the gas.
A week-long fatality inquiry in Edmonton is looking into their deaths. The judge's task is to not to assign blame but to make recommendations on how such deaths can be avoided in the future.
Court heard Monday that Bostick's common-law wife, who was elsewhere, called police to alert them to his possible suicide on Sept. 27, 2009.
Officers visited the house at 84th Street and 138th Avenue but arrived too late. He had sealed the bedroom with duct tape over the air vents and wet towels to cover gaps around the doors.
The police investigation concluded Bostick took his son's and his own life. Alberta's chief medical examiner, Dr. Anny Sauvageau, told the inquiry on Monday the two died of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the son's case, the carbon monoxide saturation in his blood measured 89 per cent, while it was 84 per cent for his father. Levels as low as 23 per cent can be fatal.
Mother attends hearing
Police say Jeremy had behavioural problems and lived in a group home but stayed with his father on weekends.
Jeremy's biological mother, Jackie McKean of Brampton, Ont., was at the hearing Monday and wiped away tears as she listened to evidence about her son's death. She said she is attending the fatality inquiry to find out what her former husband was facing and whether there were any warning signs that he was suicidial.
In the aftermath of the Bosticks' deaths, Jeffrey Bostick's common-law wife said he was in despair because government support to keep Jeremy in his group home, where he had been showing progress, was coming to an end and he was slated to be moved to another, more clinical facility.
"He said that this isn't exactly the life he ever envisioned for his son," she said at the time. "He wanted so much more for him, and if we're starting here at 11 years old, where are we going to be when he's 30? And that was weighing on him heavily."
Bostick was a loving and giving father, she said, but the situation pushed him over the edge.
Controversy erupted when the province then released figures on the amount of public money that had been spent on Jeremy's care.