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Review Findings Released in Death of Child


Chassidy Whitford was a two-year-old First Nations girl who died on or about September 21, 2002. The child's body was found in a shallow grave during the weekend of September 21, 2002 on the Lakahahmen Reserve, in British Columbia. Prior to her death, the child was in the care of her father.

On July 8, 2002 the child came to the attention of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and Xyolhemeylh, the delegated Sto:lo aboriginal and family services agency, through a child protection report. This resulted in a child protection investigation. The child and her father were subjects of ongoing protective family service from Xyolhemeylh at the time of the child's death.

Chassidy Whitford's death is the first child fatality in the agency since it began providing delegated child and family services in 1993.

Following a criminal investigation into the child's death, the child's father was charged with manslaughter, indignity to human remains and assault causing bodily harm. On October 27, 2003 he entered a guilty plea to criminal negligence causing death, assault causing bodily harm and indignity to human remains. He has been referred for psychiatric examination prior to sentencing. The type of sentencing is to be determined January 30, 2004.

A Director's Case Review into the practice of the ministry and the Xyolhemeylh agency, concerning the conduct of the investigation and the protective family services provided, began in October 2002. It was completed with recommendations in September 2003. A summary of the review is being released. All recommendations have either been implemented or are being acted upon.

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Updated: November 6, 2003
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