Manitoba

Mom seeks charges against drug dealer who 'let my baby die'

Brittney Genaille took "one hoot" of fentanyl, fell to the floor like a rag doll and never woke up again, her family says.

Daughter's death latest in deadly string of fentanyl deals, Winnipeg mother fears

Cynthia Genaille says she wants a dealer charged after her daughter, Brittney, died. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Brittney Genaille took "one hoot" of fentanyl, fell to the floor like a rag doll and never woke up again.

That's how her family described her dying moments, pieced together through text messages and conversations with witnesses, and shared with the CBC. It was the latest, they say, in a grim trail of opiate deaths playing out in Winnipeg's North End.

"When they let us see her body, my baby was laying on a couch wrapped in a blanket and her eyes were wide open like she was just looking at me," Cynthia Genaille said, sobbing. "Her dad grabbed her and tried to wake her up, but she wouldn't move."

Mom seeks charges against drug dealer who 'let my baby die'

5 years ago
Duration 2:43
Cynthia Genaille's daughter Brittney died of a fentanyl overdose on Oct. 6. 2:43

Her 26-year-old daughter's Oct. 6 death was the third fatal overdose in one group of addicts in the past month, she said. Each death was caused by fentanyl or carfentanil, authorities suspect. In each case, they used drugs — usually meth — from the same supplier, Brittney's friends told her family. No one, however, has admitted to dealing fentanyl or carfentanil.

"This needs to be stopped," Cynthia Genaille said. "Someone killed my girl. I'll never get her back."

The first deaths were discovered Oct. 3, when two men were found dead in a car in front of a house on a North End street. They'd likely been dead for days. It's suspected they overdosed on fentanyl or carfentanil.

They called it 'sunshine' — 'carbofentanil'- Cynthia Genaille

Brittney Genaille was friends with them, her mother said. They scored meth from the same person. Brittney herself was a dealer for him, her mother admitted.

He worked out of a house near the car where the men were found, she said.

Their deaths frightened Brittney, her mom said.

"She said 'Mom, I'm scared of that fentanyl'," Genaille said. 

Just three days later, Brittney was in her North End duplex, doing meth with the same guy, her mother alleged, when someone offered her either fentanyl or carfentanil. In a text message shown to the CBC, a mutual friend called it "sunshine."

"[He] told me it was sunshine," Genaille said.  "They called it 'sunshine' — 'carbofentanil'."

Brittney Genaille, 26, had five children, all under age 10. Her mother says she was trying to get better. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)
Those who were with her have talked or messaged the family about what happened next. They said Brittney took just "one hoot" of the opiate and immediately collapsed. No one checked on her or called paramedics for close to two hours, the family said. By then, it was too late.

The alleged supplier offered his sympathy to Brittney's sister, Crystal, on Facebook, but told her someone else supplied the fentanyl, adding "we had both been using meth together!" and nothing more.

Brittney then smoked the fentanyl off tinfoil and "the effect was much greater and she had what looked like just passed out on her bed," he said in a conversation on Facebook, which was seen by the CBC. "I hadn't a clue she was dead. I thought honestly she was sleeping!"

He later made a grim attempt to comfort them, Brittney's mother said.

"He says to me, 'I'll give you some comfort.' I said 'What?'" Cynthia Genaille said. "He goes, 'Your daughter didn't suffer. She died instantly.'"

Those who were with Brittney also admitted as soon as they called paramedics, they fled the scene, taking Brittney's cellphone, her mom said.

"He told me he threw it over the Redwood Bridge, because there were too many text messages about drug deals on it."

(Left) Brittney's sister, Crystal Genaille and her best friend Ericka Fiddler are struggling with the loss. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)
Today, Genaille said, she is in pursuit of justice.

In late October, Edmonton officials charged a dealer with manslaughter in connection with the death of a man who allegedly overdosed on fentanyl. Genaille wants authorities to pursue the same charges in this case.

She's told the Winnipeg Police Service everything she's learned about the drug scene. But a Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson said they are not further investigating her daughter's death.

Genaille has also launched a Facebook page called "ppl against fentanyl." It's a national effort to band grieving family members together and collectively fight for criminal justice against suppliers of the opiate, she said.

But her most daunting task is also the most heartfelt: raising her daughter's five children, all under age 10.

"She loved her babies. She was trying so hard to get better," Genaille said. "Now we are all they've got."

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