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'Only one word: sadness': Girl who died under father's care laid to rest in Granby
A seven-year-old girl whose death in Granby shocked Quebecers was laid to rest on Thursday.
A white dove and single balloon were released into the air as hundreds of people packed into a local church.
"Only one word: sadness. Nothing much to say when it's a child," said Derek Tremblay, funeral director at Complexe Funeraire Lesieur.
The funeral home covered the costs for the family.
Rev. Serge Pelletier of Saint-Eugene Church presided over the ceremony, and delivered a poignant message.
"We first ask the little girl for forgiveness for all the pain she endured," he said.
AFPAD, the Quebec association representing the families of missing and murdered persons, spoke on behalf of the family after the funeral, calling for the creation of a youth ombudsman in Quebec and to allow victims to have a voice in the inquires.
“There were alarms going out in this particular case. I saw some of the information. I don’t know what was going through their minds. They knew there was a danger, where this child was. And for whatever reason decided to take a risk and put her back in that situation,” said AFPAD spokesperson Darlene Ryan.
Father and stepmother charged
The girl was found in critical condition in her father’s home on April 29 and was rushed to hospital where she was later declared dead. Her father has since been charged with confinement while her stepmother was charged with confinement and aggravated assault.
According to officials, the girl spent the first four years of her life being cared for by her grandmother but the father was eventually awarded custody, even as the grandmother and neighbours filed complaints with youth protection services.
The child and family members can’t be identified in order to protect the identity of her younger brother, who is now in foster care.
The girl’s death has garnered much attention due to her numerous interactions with youth protective services. Some critics have said the system failed to protect the girl and several investigations, including a coroner’s inquest, have been ordered to look into the death and the local youth protection bureaucracy.