Toronto

Katelynn Sampson child protection file closed months before couple took custody of her

Child welfare workers are expected to testify today at the inquest into the death of a seven-year-old Toronto girl, Katelynn Sampson, killed by her guardians.

Native Child and Family Services received several calls about 7-year-old girl before her death

Katelynn was beaten for months until she died of septic shock and her guardians later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in her death.

A Toronto child welfare agency repeatedly offered to close a couple's file in the months before the pair took in a seven-year-old girl they later killed. 

A former caseworker with Native Child and Family Services says there were no longer any child protection concerns about Donna Irving and Warren Johnson in early 2007 and the agency moved to close their file.

Erin Payne says Irving asked that her file be kept open and was eventually transferred to prevention services, which are voluntary.

The agency opened another protection file after realizing that Katelynn Sampson was living with the couple in late summer of that year, though the girl had already been in the home for several months.

The file was quickly closed after Irving said Katelynn had gone back to live with her mother, which wasn't true.

After that, the inquest heard, Irving cut off ties with Native Child and Family Services and they shut down her file for prevention services.

The agency's executive director previously testified that several opportunities to help Katelynn were missed but he denied that those mistakes led to the girl's death on Aug. 3, 2008.

Katelynn was beaten for months until she died of septic shock from her injuries.

Her mother, Bernice Sampson, was addicted to crack and gave her daughter to Irving and Johnson after realizing she could no longer care for the girl.

The couple was granted custody despite a lengthy history with child welfare and several criminal convictions. They later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in her death.

The Children's Aid Society of Toronto was also called about Katelynn but referred the case to Native Child and Family Services due to Irving's aboriginal heritage.

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