Manitoba

Employee 'played dead' to survive attack at behavioural centre, son says

When Kirk Linklater received a phone call on Sunday night, the last thing he expected was his mother fearing for her life on the other end of the line.

Kirk Linklater says his mother feared for her life

Linklater's mother was working at Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation with Jackie Healey, a 23-year-old student on her work placement, when she was brutally attacked. 1:26

When Kirk Linklater received a phone call on Sunday night, the last thing he expected was his mother fearing for her life on the other end of the line.  

Linklater's mother was working at Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation with Jackie Healey, a 23-year-old student on her work placement, when she was brutally attacked. 

"She sounded really scared at the time, she didn't sound like her at all," he said. "I could tell that she was badly beat up, like she was hit in the mouth a few times."

Linklater said it was getting late and his mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the two youth residents at the foundation they could go out for a cigarette before heading to bed. 

"My mom was in the kitchen just doing dishes or whatever and apparently one of the kids attacked her," Linklater said. "He didn't stop." 

His mother was beaten with a bat and pool balls and her hands were tied, Linklater said. 

"At one point my mom said that she played dead and hoped that would help," he said. "When she heard the guys walk away she opened her eye for a second and realized that they were gone and that's when she decided to make a break for it and go get help."

Police parked outside the Behavioural Health Foundation in Selkirk, Man., on May 30. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

The youth had allegedly stolen her phone, so Linklater's mother ran to a neighbouring property to call police, hearing screams from Healey in the distance, he said. Right after, she phoned Linklater. 

"She said that she thought she was going to die," he said. "She said 'I fear for my life'."

His mother was brought to hospital in Selkirk, Man., where she received around 24 staples in her head.

"She is still really sore. The hard part is the bruises, her eye is bruised really bad, it's really puffed out. It's going to take a long time for her to heal," Linklater said. 

Healey has remained in hospital recovering from a cracked skull and broken teeth. Healey said she's not sure she will regain her eyesight.

Jackie Healey, a 23-year-old student on her work placement, has also spoken about the assault. (Facebook)

The male youth services portion of the program at the Behavioural Health Foundation was set to close on June 24, and the two youth involved were the last participants in it, according to the centre's board of directors. Linklater said his mother was going to be laid off in June.

After the assault, Linklater said he doesn't know if his mom will continue working in the field but she is resilient. 

"In terms of sort of psychologically or emotionally healing from something like this, I think it will take a long time," Linklater said. 

Workplace Health and Safety is also investigating the incident. Linklater said he would like to see provisions put in place to ensure workers' safety. 

Charges were laid against two teenagers on Wednesday. A 17-year-old male will face seven charges including aggravated assault, robbery, and unlawful confinement. A 16-year-old male has been charged with 10 offences including assault, possession of a weapon, and theft of a motor vehicle.

The names of the accused can't be released due to provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.