Day: May 4, 2020

Girl found dead at bottom of Ontario cliff was murdered, family says, despite still waiting for official answers

The mother and step-father of a four-year-old girl found dead alongside her father at the bottom of an escarpment in an Ontario park say they have no doubt their daughter was the victim of a murder-suicide, despite nearly three months passing with no official word from police.

Keira Kagan was found dead in the late hours of a cold and snowy February 9th along with her father, Robin Brown, in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton, Ont.

The Office of the Chief Coroner is investigating their deaths.

“It’s torture. It’s immense pain,” Keira’s mother, Jennifer Kagan, told CTV News Toronto about the grief she faces daily.

“I try to process some of it but it’s kind of like a knife in your sides at all times. You never get away from it. You are affected by it every minute of the day.”

Police said they were notified around 7:30 p.m. when Brown and his daughter did not return from a hike. A large-scale search was launched and their bodies were recovered hours later. 

Keira 2

At the time, detectives with Halton Regional Police said Brown and Kagan suffered significant trauma and their injuries were consistent with a fall.

Keira’s parents got married in 2013 and separated two years later, after which Kagan left the couple’s home in Burlington, Ont. and moved to Thornhill, Ont. At the time of her death, Keira lived with her mother and step-father, Phillip Vaiter.

Kagan says Brown picked Keira up from school on Friday before her death and she barely heard from her daughter all weekend, except for a 30-second phone call hours before she was found dead. 

“She said ‘Mom, I’m at Dad’s office. Got to go, Bye.’ That was the last time she contacted me.”

Court documents, provided by Kagan, show a contentious and lengthy custody battle that was before the courts at the time of the deaths. Kagan had brought forward an urgent motion on Jan. 28, seeking a court order to suspend Brown’s access to Keira or give him only supervised access. 

Robin Brown

According to Kagan, it was Brown’s turn to have custody of Keira on the weekend she died. She says it was the last weekend Brown would have her before a Feb. 20 court hearing, when a judge could have revoked his custody or decided to allow only supervised visits. It’s something they say they had been pleading for in court for years. 

Vaiter, a family law lawyer, and Kagan, a physician, say Brown never went for hikes and that his actions that day do not make sense. While authorities are still in the midst of completing a lengthy investigation, the parents say they have known all along what happened to their “sweet girl”.

“I have no doubt she was killed,” Viater said. “I got a call that day from Halton Regional Police around 9:30 p.m., they said Keira is missing, along with her father.”

Kagan5

“At that point, I told the police officer immediately, this is not a missing persons case. I said ‘You’re not looking for a missing person, you’re looking for a kidnapped person or two dead people.’ Unfortunately, I was correct.”

CTV News Toronto has contacted Halton Regional Police for an update but investigators declined to comment. 

“The Homicide Unit of the Halton Regional Police Service is currently working in concert with the Chief Coroner’s office, to investigate the circumstances surrounding Keira and Robin’s death,” the lead detective on the case, Darren Kellerman, told CTV News Toronto. 

“As this is a Coroner’s investigation, it would preclude the Police from making a public statement.”

Kagn7

The Office of the Chief Coroner confirmed to CTV News Toronto that the investigation into the deaths is still ongoing. The Coroner said the results of the investigation will be made available to the family once it is complete. 

Family feels failed by court system

Nearly three months after Keira’s death, her mother said the initial shock of losing her daughter is gone but she’s now gripped by “layers and layers” of immense grief. 

“I’m coping with the loss of a young child, which in of itself is unnatural, children are not supposed to die before their parents,” Kagan said. “It’s the most stressful thing a parent can go through.”

“Then there is trying to struggle with the violent nature of it, the sudden nature of it too, not having the opportunity to tell her I love her or say goodbye.”

keira kagan

“Another big issue is the court system and the failure of the people in the court system. People in the system failed her and us. Her death was preventable.”

While both Kagan and Vaiter admit there may never be any physical evidence proving their theory about Keira’s death, they hope the court documents provided to police, in which they allege years of psychological and emotional harm by Brown, will help detectives complete their investigation. 

“There is evidence in the form of court documents,” Vaiter said. “I believe the evidence would also be the circumstances surrounding her death. Why was he there in the middle of a snowstorm when no one else was there?”

“There are other conservation areas right near his house. He chose to go to Milton. Boyd Conservation Area, in Woodbridge, is a 10 minute drive to his house but instead he drove over an hour to Rattlesnake Point.”

Turning Keira’s death into something positive

Kagan said the grieving process has been complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She is no longer able to visit the grave of her daughter because the cemetery is closed. 

“Not being able to physically go to the place Keira is resting is difficult but I know I’m not alone in these situations,” Kagan said. 

Keira stepdad

Kagan is now processing her grief and trying to advocate for more protection for children suffering from domestic violence through a blog called #ForLittleKeira.

“When you’ve been a victim of injustice, there is no real remedy for that,” she said. “That’s why we’re trying to advocate and my mission is to help other parents and children in the system because through doing some of that, you can try to cope with the grief and loss the best you can.”

“I’m trying to turn this into something positive. We want to fight for justice and for Keira’s life not to be in vain.”

“This little girl believed she could change the world, and she will.” 

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source https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/girl-found-dead-at-bottom-of-ontario-cliff-was-murdered-family-says-despite-still-waiting-for-official-answers-1.4923415

By The Wall of Law May 4, 2020 Off

Girl found dead at bottom of Ontario cliff was murdered, family says, despite still waiting for official answers

The mother and step-father of a four-year-old girl found dead alongside her father at the bottom of an escarpment in an Ontario park say they have no doubt their daughter was the victim of a murder-suicide, despite nearly three months passing with no official word from police.

Keira Kagan was found dead in the late hours of a cold and snowy February 9th along with her father, Robin Brown, in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton, Ont.

The Office of the Chief Coroner is investigating their deaths.

“It’s torture. It’s immense pain,” Keira’s mother, Jennifer Kagan, told CTV News Toronto about the grief she faces daily.

“I try to process some of it but it’s kind of like a knife in your sides at all times. You never get away from it. You are affected by it every minute of the day.”

Police said they were notified around 7:30 p.m. when Brown and his daughter did not return from a hike. A large-scale search was launched and their bodies were recovered hours later. 

Keira 2

At the time, detectives with Halton Regional Police said Brown and Kagan suffered significant trauma and their injuries were consistent with a fall.

Keira’s parents got married in 2013 and separated two years later, after which Kagan left the couple’s home in Burlington, Ont. and moved to Thornhill, Ont. At the time of her death, Keira lived with her mother and step-father, Phillip Vaiter.

Kagan says Brown picked Keira up from school on Friday before her death and she barely heard from her daughter all weekend, except for a 30-second phone call hours before she was found dead. 

“She said ‘Mom, I’m at Dad’s office. Got to go, Bye.’ That was the last time she contacted me.”

Court documents, provided by Kagan, show a contentious and lengthy custody battle that was before the courts at the time of the deaths. Kagan had brought forward an urgent motion on Jan. 28, seeking a court order to suspend Brown’s access to Keira or give him only supervised access. 

Robin Brown

According to Kagan, it was Brown’s turn to have custody of Keira on the weekend she died. She says it was the last weekend Brown would have her before a Feb. 20 court hearing, when a judge could have revoked his custody or decided to allow only supervised visits. It’s something they say they had been pleading for in court for years. 

Vaiter, a family law lawyer, and Kagan, a physician, say Brown never went for hikes and that his actions that day do not make sense. While authorities are still in the midst of completing a lengthy investigation, the parents say they have known all along what happened to their “sweet girl”.

“I have no doubt she was killed,” Viater said. “I got a call that day from Halton Regional Police around 9:30 p.m., they said Keira is missing, along with her father.”

Kagan5

“At that point, I told the police officer immediately, this is not a missing persons case. I said ‘You’re not looking for a missing person, you’re looking for a kidnapped person or two dead people.’ Unfortunately, I was correct.”

CTV News Toronto has contacted Halton Regional Police for an update but investigators declined to comment. 

“The Homicide Unit of the Halton Regional Police Service is currently working in concert with the Chief Coroner’s office, to investigate the circumstances surrounding Keira and Robin’s death,” the lead detective on the case, Darren Kellerman, told CTV News Toronto. 

“As this is a Coroner’s investigation, it would preclude the Police from making a public statement.”

Kagn7

The Office of the Chief Coroner confirmed to CTV News Toronto that the investigation into the deaths is still ongoing. The Coroner said the results of the investigation will be made available to the family once it is complete. 

Family feels failed by court system

Nearly three months after Keira’s death, her mother said the initial shock of losing her daughter is gone but she’s now gripped by “layers and layers” of immense grief. 

“I’m coping with the loss of a young child, which in of itself is unnatural, children are not supposed to die before their parents,” Kagan said. “It’s the most stressful thing a parent can go through.”

“Then there is trying to struggle with the violent nature of it, the sudden nature of it too, not having the opportunity to tell her I love her or say goodbye.”

keira kagan

“Another big issue is the court system and the failure of the people in the court system. People in the system failed her and us. Her death was preventable.”

While both Kagan and Vaiter admit there may never be any physical evidence proving their theory about Keira’s death, they hope the court documents provided to police, in which they allege years of psychological and emotional harm by Brown, will help detectives complete their investigation. 

“There is evidence in the form of court documents,” Vaiter said. “I believe the evidence would also be the circumstances surrounding her death. Why was he there in the middle of a snowstorm when no one else was there?”

“There are other conservation areas right near his house. He chose to go to Milton. Boyd Conservation Area, in Woodbridge, is a 10 minute drive to his house but instead he drove over an hour to Rattlesnake Point.”

Turning Keira’s death into something positive

Kagan said the grieving process has been complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She is no longer able to visit the grave of her daughter because the cemetery is closed. 

“Not being able to physically go to the place Keira is resting is difficult but I know I’m not alone in these situations,” Kagan said. 

Keira stepdad

Kagan is now processing her grief and trying to advocate for more protection for children suffering from domestic violence through a blog called #ForLittleKeira.

“When you’ve been a victim of injustice, there is no real remedy for that,” she said. “That’s why we’re trying to advocate and my mission is to help other parents and children in the system because through doing some of that, you can try to cope with the grief and loss the best you can.”

“I’m trying to turn this into something positive. We want to fight for justice and for Keira’s life not to be in vain.”

“This little girl believed she could change the world, and she will.” 

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Via Simple Divorce

source https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/girl-found-dead-at-bottom-of-ontario-cliff-was-murdered-family-says-despite-still-waiting-for-official-answers-1.4923415

By The Wall of Law May 4, 2020 Off

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

Faced with 20,000 dead, care homes seek shield from lawsuits

NEW YORK (AP) — Faced with 20,000 coronavirus deaths and counting, the nation’s nursing homes are pushing back against a potential flood of lawsuits with a sweeping lobbying effort to get states to grant them emergency protection from claims of inadequate care.

At least 15 states have enacted laws or governors’ orders that explicitly or apparently provide nursing homes and long-term care facilities some protection from lawsuits arising from the crisis. And in the case of New York, which leads the nation in deaths in such facilities, a lobbying group wrote the first draft of a measure that apparently makes it the only state with specific protection from both civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.

Now the industry is forging ahead with a campaign to get other states on board with a simple argument: This was an unprecedented crisis and nursing homes should not be liable for events beyond their control, such as shortages of protective equipment and testing, shifting directives from authorities, and sicknesses that have decimated staffs.

“As our care providers make these difficult decisions, they need to know they will not be prosecuted or persecuted,” read a letter sent this month from several major hospital and nursing home groups to their next big goal, California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom has yet to make a decision. Other states in their sights include Florida, Pennsylvania and Missouri.

Watchdogs, patient advocates and lawyers argue that immunity orders are misguided. At a time when the crisis is laying bare such chronic industry problems as staffing shortages and poor infection control, they say legal liability is the last safety net to keep facilities accountable.

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DHS report: China hid virus’ severity to hoard supplies

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show.

Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable.

The sharper rhetoric coincides with administration critics saying the government’s response to the virus was slow and inadequate. President Donald Trump’s political opponents have accused him of lashing out at China, a geopolitical foe but critical U.S. trade partner, in an attempt to deflect criticism at home.

Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the DHS analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states.

The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.

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As lockdowns ease, some countries report new infection peaks

ROME (AP) — While millions of people took advantage of easing coronavirus lockdowns to enjoy the outdoors, some of the world’s most populous countries reported worrisome new peaks in infections Sunday, including India, which saw its biggest single-day jump yet.

Second in population only to China, India reported more than 2,600 new infections. In Russia, new cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time. The confirmed total death toll in Britain climbed near that of Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak, even though the U.K. population is younger than Italy’s and Britain had more time to prepare.

The United States continues to see tens of thousands of new infections each day, with more than 1,400 additional deaths reported Saturday.

Health experts have warned of a potential second wave of infections unless testing is expanded dramatically once the lockdowns are relaxed. But pressure to reopen keeps building after the weekslong shutdown of businesses plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s and wiped out millions of jobs.

At a virtual town hall Sunday night, President Donald Trump acknowledged some Americans are worried about getting sick while others are concerned about losing jobs.

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In televised town hall, Trump pushes for economic reopening

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anxious to spur an economic recovery without risking lives, President Donald Trump on Sunday insisted that “you can satisfy both” — see states gradually lift lockdowns while also protecting people from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 60,000 Americans.

The president, fielding questions from Americans in a virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial, acknowledged valid fears on both sides of the issue. Some people are worried about getting sick; others are reeling from lost jobs and livelihoods.

But while Trump increased his projection for the total U.S. death total to 80,000 or 90,000 — up by more than 20,000 fatalities from what he had suggested just a few weeks ago — he struck a note of urgency to restart the nation’s economy, declaring “we have to reopen our country.”

“We have to get it back open safely but as quickly as possible,” Trump said.

After more than a month of being cooped up at the White House, Trump returned from a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland for the virtual town hall hosted by Fox News Channel.

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’60 Minutes’ correspondent Stahl says she fought coronavirus

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS News “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl said Sunday that she’s finally feeling well after a battle with COVID-19 that left her hospitalized for a week.

Stahl said she was “really scared” after fighting pneumonia caused by the coronavirus for two weeks at home before going to the hospital.

“One of the rules of journalism is ‘don’t become part of the story,’” Stahl said at the end of Sunday’s broadcast. “But instead of covering the pandemic, I was one of the more-than-one-million Americans who did become part of it.”

Stahl, 78, is the dean of correspondents at television’s best-known newsmagazine. She joined “60 Minutes” in March 1991, and before that was moderator of the Sunday talk show “Face the Nation” and a Washington correspondent.

She landed the first television interview with Donald Trump after he was elected president, and the first with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she become speaker — both in 2007 and again in 2019.

___

Violent arrest raises concerns about NYPD distancing patrols

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer who was caught on video Saturday pointing a stun gun at a man and violently taking him to the ground over an alleged social distancing violation has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty pending an internal investigation.

Bystander video showed the plainclothes officer, who was not wearing a protective face mask, slapping 33-year-old Donni Wright in the face, punching him in the shoulder and dragging him to a sidewalk after levelling him in a crosswalk in Manhattan’s East Village.

“The behaviour I saw in that video is simply not acceptable,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Sunday. He said earlier in the day that there will be a careful look into what happened.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell said Wright “took a fighting stance against the officer” when he was ordered to disperse and was arrested on charges including assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

The charges have been deferred pending further investigation, a Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spokesperson said.

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Unlike 2008 crisis, pandemic has no leader, no global plan

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — When financial markets collapsed and the world faced its last great crisis in 2008, major powers worked together to restore the global economy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been striking for the opposite response: no leader, no united action to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, which has killed over 200,000 people.

The financial crisis gave birth to the leaders’ summit of the Group of 20, the world’s richest countries responsible for 80% of the global economy. But when U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed ahead of their summit in late March that G-20 leaders adopt a “wartime” plan and co-operate on the global response to suppress the virus, there was no response.

In an April 6 letter to the G-20 following the summit, former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 164 other current and former presidents, prime ministers, scientists and global figures urged the group’s leaders to co-ordinate action “within the next few days” and agree on measures to address the deepening global health and economic crises from COVID-19. Again, no response.

A clearly frustrated Guterres told reporters Thursday that instead of “solid leadership” to fight the pandemic, each country went ahead with a different strategy, increasing the risk that the virus would not disappear, but rather spread and then return.

“It is obvious that there is a lack of leadership,” he said. “It is obvious the international community is divided in a moment where it would be more important than ever to be united.”

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The Latest: China reports 3 new cases, New Zealand none

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— China reports 3 new coronavirus cases, no deaths.

— Small groups ignore closures and hit warm California beaches.

— New Zealand reports no new cases for first time since mid-March outbreak.

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Desert or sea: Virus traps migrants in mid-route danger zone

Thousands of desperate migrants are trapped in limbo and even at risk of death without food, water or shelter in scorching deserts and at sea, asgovernments close off borders and ports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Migrants have been dropped by the truckload in the Sahara Desert or bused to Mexico’s desolate border with Guatemala and beyond. They are drifting in the Mediterranean Sea after European and Libyan authorities declared their ports unsafe. And about 100 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are believed to have died in the Bay of Bengal, as country after country pushes them back out to sea.

Many governments have declared emergencies, saying a public health crisis like the coronavirus pandemic requires extraordinary measures. However, these measures are just the latest efforts by governments to clamp down on migrants, despite human rights laws.

“They just dumped us,” said Fanny Jacqueline Ortiz, a 37-year-old Honduran travelling with her two daughters, aged 3 and 12.

Ortiz reached the U.S., but American authorities expelled her to Mexico. The Mexican government in turn abandoned the family on March 26 at the lonely El Ceibo border crossingwith Guatemala. Ortiz and other migrants on the two-bus convoy were told to avoid the Guatemalan soldiers guarding the border, which was closed due to the pandemic.

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Ex-Green Beret claims he led foiled raid into Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A former Green Beret has claimed responsibility for a failed attack Sunday aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that the socialist government said ended with eight people dead.

Jordan Goudreau’s comments in an interview with an exiled Venezuelan journalist capped a bizarre day that started with reports of a pre-dawn amphibious raid near the South American country’s heavily guarded capital.

An AP investigation published Friday found that Goudreau had been working with a retired army general now facing U.S. narcotics charges to train dozens of deserting Venezuelan soldiers at secret camps inside neighbouring Colombia. The goal was to mount a cross border raid that would end in Maduro’s arrest.

But from the outset the ragtag army lacked funding and U.S. government support, all but guaranteeing defeat against Maduro’s well-equipped if demoralized armed forces. It also appears to have been penetrated by Maduro’s extensive Cuban-backed intelligence network.

Both Goudreau and retired Venezuelan Capt. Javier Nieto declined to speak to the AP on Sunday when contacted after posting a video from an undisclosed location saying they had launched an anti-Maduro putsch called “Operation Gideon.” Both men live in Florida.

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/05/04/ap-news-in-brief-at-1204-a-m-edt-261/

By The Wall of Law May 4, 2020 Off