Sinclair Inquiry Hears of 5-Year-Old’s Preposterous Treatment Prior to Death

The woman who informed the authorities about the death of a Manitoba girl whimpered while recording her testimony to the inquiry on Monday, explaining the abuse Phoenix Sinclair had to endure during her final days. The inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair heard that “they shot at her with a pellet gun and … played a game with her called choking the chicken.” The women, whose identity cannot be revealed due to a publication ban, mentioned that “Wesley [McKay] would grab her and throw her on the couch and they would all laugh.”

The women explained that she did not witness the abuse herself, though she was informed about it by her two sons she had with Karl Wesley McKay, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the five-year-old girl’s beating death in 2005. At the time, McKay lived with Phoenix’s mother, Samantha Kematch, who is also convicted in the same preposterous killing. The woman’s sons were staying with McKay, Kematch and Phoenix on the Fisher River reserve in the spring and summer of 2005.

The abuse suffered by Phoenix was previously highlighted comprehensively during the murder trial of Kematch and McKay, explaining that the girl was often restricted to a bared basement room, forced to eat her own vomit and choked until she lost consciousness. The Phoenix Sinclair inquiry is looking into how the Manitoba child welfare system failed to protect Phoenix, who spent majority of her life in foster care or with family friends before being returned to Kematch.

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