New Brunswick·CBC Investigates

The Lost Children: Remembering the Jacqueline Dawn Brewer case

The death of 28-month-old Jacqueline Dawn Brewer left behind anger and promises to do better at detecting chronic neglect. CBC reporter Rachel Cave remembers covering the Brewer case, 20 years ago.

CBC reporter Rachel Cave reflects on covering the tragic death of a toddler in Saint John 20 years ago

CBC reporter Rachel Cave reflects on covering the tragic death of a toddler in Saint John 20 years ago 2:34

Twenty years ago, a tragic story of neglect played out inside a dingy apartment in Saint John's south end.

Jacqueline Dawn Brewer, 28 months old, was left to die in her crib, lying in the same spot where she spent most of her young life, alone.

Her parents, Marc Janes and Helen Brewer, were convicted of manslaughter for their daughter's death.

Jackie's story made people angry.

They asked, how could a child die in plain sight? And how do we make sure it never happens again?

On Monday, we begin The Lost Children, a CBC News investigation into New Brunswick's child death review system.

Each day, we'll tell you the story of another lost child: A toddler who should have been saved by Jackie's death.

A young girl allowed to live in a foster home with a convicted sex offender. A baby killed by the person who should have protected him.

CBC reporter Rachel Cave begins by taking us back to 1996, when she covered the Brewer trial.

She remembers the horror and the anger that came from the little girl's death.

"I had never seen the kind of damage that can be caused when families have nothing and no chance, one generation after another."

Monday: Preventing another Jackie

Tuesday: History repeats itself

Wednesday: 'The system failed her'

Thursday: Solutions