Man accused of killing toddler tried to force abortion on mother, court records show
'Frank had said his only goal was to abort the baby,' mother told court in 2017
WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
A Winnipeg man accused of abducting and fatally stabbing his toddler daughter tried to force the child's mother into an abortion not long after she became pregnant.
Court records obtained by CBC show the mother of the slain three-year-old was granted a domestic violence protection order after telling a provincial court official Frank Nausigimana assaulted her while pregnant, hoping to see her then-unborn fetus aborted.
Nausigimana, 28, is accused of first-degree murder after police say the estranged father abducted his daughter from her mother at knifepoint in her car in the Robertson neighbourhood before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Officers found Nausigimana and the vehicle in the area of Jefferson Avenue and King Edward Street soon after. The girl was inside suffering from stab wounds. She was rushed to hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead.
Nausigimana pleaded guilty in 2019 to assaulting the mother and was sentenced to a year of supervised probation. He was charged after attacking her inside a car in a dispute over her pregnancy on March 31, 2017.
The two were not in a romantic relationship but had been friends for about seven years at the time, she said.
Tried to force 'poison,' woman alleged
The woman sought a protection order from a judicial justice of the peace days after the March attack, saying through an American Sign Language interpreter that Nausigimana had tried to force her to drink "a poison of some sort, a liquid."
"He put his hands against me and forced it into my face and I realized that [was] what his intention was … he wanted me to smell it so it would actually kill the baby," she said in sworn testimony.
"He wasn't listening to me. I told him no, but he forced it on me," she said.
The woman managed to escape the car and went to hospital soon after for tests. She complained of a rash around her eyes that a doctor said made it look like she'd been punched. It was the effect of being splashed with the unknown liquid, she told court.
The woman testified that Nausigimana said he wanted her to have an abortion upon learning she was pregnant.
"That was the first thing he said. He said he didn't want to have anything to do with it and then he thought, yes, he wanted to abort the baby and he started to plan and I had told him, no, I don't want to. But he said he wants to — he was going to force me to, and then he tried to," she testified.
"Frank had said his only goal was to abort the baby."
Protection order revoked
Days after the protection order was granted, Nausigimana applied to have it revoked, saying he'd asked the woman to go to the hospital to "remove the baby," but she had refused.
"Then I grabbed the bottle," he wrote in his request for revocation. "I only wanted to put it in her mouth as she drank it.
Nausigimana said he was tired of hearing from her about how she wanted to have the baby.
"I already told her that I don't want to make the baby," he said. "So, she used me."
In May 2017, as part of the revocation process, the mother met with a Manitoba Justice victim services worker who placed a letter on the court file outlining the interview. In it, the victims services worker noted that Nausigimana was facing criminal charges in connection with the assault.
According to the letter, the mother said she wanted Nausigimana to be able to attend the church they both went to at the same time and was "in shock" that the protection order had been granted.
"She believes the church is assisting by counselling [Nausigimana] and she is also receiving counselling and supports. [Nausigimana] provided a letter … asking for forgiveness and [she] has forgiven him," the letter said.
Less than a month later, in July 2017, the mother returned to court to try to cancel the protection order, saying she'd forgiven Nausigimana.
"I trust him that he won't do it again to me," she wrote. "I will take care [of the] child alone."
The protection order was revoked in September 2017.
Accused started recent court fight for custody
As part of his 2019 criminal probation order for assaulting the mother, Nausigimana was to have no contact or communication with her for a year.
Nausigimana claims the mother "unilaterally" started to refuse him access to the child as of Jan. 8 of this year.
In February, Nausigimana applied for joint custody of the girl, saying he wanted "mutual decision making authority" with the mother, specified periods of care and control over the child and an order the mother not leave Manitoba with the girl without his permission.
He was concerned the mother might abruptly move with the child, court records show.
The mother responded soon after by saying she'd be open to allowing him specified periods of care and control over the child but not joint custody nor mutual decision making, among other things.
"Due to previous and ongoing domestic violence issues with [Nausigimana] while she was pregnant and currently, [the mother] no longer wishes to communicate with [Nausigimana]," her lawyer wrote.
The mother countered by saying she'd ask the court for orders including sole custody and that Nausigimana have only limited supervised access to the child.
"It is not possible for the parties to co-parent effectively and joint custody would not be appropriate for the circumstances," her March 5 reply states.
Nausigimana remains in provincial custody. He is presumed innocent of the murder allegation. No trial dates have been set.