The boy who ran away from Saskatoon’s Kilburn Hall on Wednesday night is the brother of the boy who died while in custody at the youth detention facility last week, CKOM has learned.
“I lost my one son and then they came and arrested my other son,” the woman, who cannot be named in order to protect the identities of her underage sons, said outside provincial court.
Her 16-year-old son made a brief court appearance Thursday morning. He’s accused of running away from Kilburn Hall around 5 p.m. Wednesday night. According to a police release, he was found about 30 minutes later.
The woman said her youngest son was arrested for a breach of residence last week, on the same day that her oldest son passed away while being held at Kilburn Hall for breaching his conditions. Jail staff put the 16-year-old in the same holding cells where his 17-year-old brother had just been found unresponsive, she said.
“And he was just freaking out so bad. He didn’t want to be near that room; he didn’t want to be in that room, and it’s all taped off with caution (tape),” she said.
She said her youngest ran away from the youth jail because he wanted to visit his brother’s grave site.
The woman admits her sons often run away and breach their conditions, but she said their charges do not stem from serious criminal activity. Her youngest son was initially arrested for riding a stolen bike, and failing to show up to court kept him in the justice system. Her deceased son had spent a year in jail for six robberies.
With tears running down her cheeks, she said she tried to support her boys even though she does not approve of their gang lifestyle. But after her oldest son’s latest arrest, she told him she’d had enough and refused to attend his court appearance on July 27.
He died in a hospital two days later.
What went wrong?
The mother-of-three said her oldest son called her from Kilburn Hall the day before he died.
“And he was talking very, very fast and he told me ‘mom, I’ve been up for 12 days. I don’t feel good. I’ve asked them to take me to the hospital and they won’t’.”
She said she repeatedly called the jail over the next 24 hours, asking staff to find out what was wrong with her son. But when she received a call back, she said he was already gone.
The woman believes her son died from an overdose after possibly mixing his prescription medication with street drugs, although she’s still waiting on the results of a toxicology report. The 17-year-old seemed like he was “on something” the day of his most recent arrest, she said, but she wasn’t aware of him being addicted to hard drugs.
Her son was about to turn 18 in September and was looking forward to starting fresh with a clean record, she said, crying.
“Basically Kilburn had my son for a whole year and now they killed him. I say that strongly because he himself and myself begged them to take him in and they didn’t, so maybe something would have been different today,” she said.
In the meantime, she said she’s concerned for her younger son’s safety as he struggles to grieve while in custody.
It is up to the coroner’s office to decide if an inquest into the teen’s death will be held. But the boy’s mom hopes her questions can be answered before that.
“Whose fault is it? Why did he not get taken in when he asked? Why did he not get taken in to emergency when I called? I have a duty as his mother to get to the bottom of this and I hope this never happens to anybody else.”
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