Girl, 15, beaten in Winnipeg remains in hospital 2 months after attack

A 15-year-old girl badly beaten and sexually assaulted in Winnipeg is still recovering in hospital, unable to communicate, sit up or move around.

Mother of girl who was assaulted and left in critical condition downtown is by daughter's bed daily

Beaten girl remains in hospital months after attack

8 years ago
Duration 1:41
Winnipeg 15-year-old assaulted and left in critical condition in downtown area, she can't communicate, sit up or move around

A 15-year-old girl badly beaten and sexually assaulted in Winnipeg is still recovering in hospital, and can't communicate, sit up or move around.

"She's very limited in what she can do. [We] don't expect her to be perfect or the same. It's still hard," said the girl's mom. "I guess she's aware of voices. She can sense us, she knows who it is when we talk to her and that."

Neither the girl nor her mother can be identified because the teen was at the time of the attack, and still is, in the care of Child and Family Services (CFS).

The girl was rushed to hospital in critical condition on April 1 after she was found clinging to life near a parkade on Hargrave Street.

CFS had placed the girl in a downtown hotel. Soon after the attack, a 15-year-old boy who initially called police to the scene was charged in connection with the assault.

Weeks later, the girl was taken off life support in hospital.

The attack prompted Manitoba Minister of Family Services Kerri Irvin-Ross to announce that children in CFS care would no longer be housed in hotels as of this Monday.

'Every day is so hard'

The girl has had multiple operations, now relies on a feeding tube, and though she can't communicate it, she appears to be in a lot of pain.

While the bruising and swelling from the attack have largely healed, the girl's cognitive abilities are in doubt. 

"I used to wake up and wish it was just a dream for like a month. Every day is hard. I don't know what to expect. I pray every night for her," said the mom, who noted her daughter used to play violin and basketball.

"I wish it was me and not her. I would so take away all of that pain."

Her mom said her daughter was taken into the care of CFS about a year before the incident because she was having difficulty at home and needed help.
The teenage girl was found in critical condition near a downtown Winnipeg parkade in April. (CBC)

"I went to CFS, asked them for help," she said. "When we called out for help, my mom [the girl's grandmother] agreed, and I remember my first conversation with the worker — that you know, she needs someone to reach out to — a worker, a friend, anybody that can bring something out of her."

But the problems became worse while she was staying in the hotel in CFS care, after she was moved there in March, her mom said.

Because the girl is still in the care of CFS, the information provided to her mother is limited. She can't sign off on surgeries for her daughter, and she's frustrated that care hasn't been transferred back to her.

Mom says CFS kids need family connection

The mom spends every day in the hospital, where her daughter's room is decorated with photos on the walls, get-well cards, stuffed animals and a Brooklyn Nets T-shirt.

There is also a plaster mold of the girl's hand and the mom's hand linked together.

"I need support. I would like to see more of these kids that are being taken for no reason to actually stay connected with their family or whoever their guardian was because they still need that support," she said.

"When a kid loses that support, they start to get involved in gangs and crime and thinking that's their family. We need to stick to our kids. We need to support them and help them in any way, even if it is in CFS. I still think they need to stay close."
The girl's mom, left, speaks to CBC producer Angela Johnston outside a Winnipeg hospital on Wednesday. (Cameron MacIntosh/CBC)

She said her daughter never should have been housed in a hotel. 

"I think they should've [stopped that practise] with the first child that had an incident. They should have really stopped and thought about it," she said.

The mother had a meeting with Irvin-Ross and asked for help dealing with CFS, but said little came of it.

Provincial officials said the minister is willing to meet with the girl's mom again, and there have been no CFS children housed in hotels since May 11.

Officials said the province is on track to meet the June 1 deadline.