(Helena Bedewell was one of the hundreds of people that showed up to honour 19-month-old Anthony Raine who was murdered in Edmonton last week.Photo: Brandi Morin)
APTN National News
Hundreds of people came out to a vigil Tuesday night at the Good Shepherd Anglican church in Edmonton to remember 19-month-old Anythony Raine.
The toddler’s body was discovered Friday on the grounds of the church.
Helena Bedwell lives five blocks away.
“Sweet little child,” said Bedewell as she looked on at the mounting gifts, teddy bears, flowers and candles at the vigil. “He’s asleep now. He’s in a good place now. In our culture (Dene) when a baby passes away they say that the baby is building a road for the mother to get to heaven…my condolences to her.”
Rachel Nowlan was crying while she visited the site. Although she didn’t know Raine she said she’s heartbroken that his life was cut short.
“This is not fair for this little child,” said Nowlan. “I’m just broken from it. If they couldn’t take care of the child, take him to a hospital, take him to a police station. Somewhere where somebody’s going to take care of him. Don’t do this to a child. He didn’t even have a chance.”
On Monday Edmonton police charged Raine’s father Joseph Crier, 26, and his girlfriend, Tasha Mack, 25, with second degree murder in connection with the toddler’s death. Crier’s sisters were in attendance at the vigil but did not talk to media.
They were also charged with criminal negligence causing death, assault and failure to provide the necessities of life. Mack faces an additional count of assault causing bodily harm.
An autopsy performed Monday revealed Raine died of head trauma. Police said he was subject to physical abuse before he died and had several bruises on his body.
“He was just a little baby and he couldn’t do anything for himself – all I could picture was him wrapped up in a blanket here all by himself,” said Cindy Murphy who attended the vigil with her daughter and grandchildren.
“How much beating did that little angel go through? If somebody would’ve done something like this to my grandchild there’d be justice alright because there wouldn’t be enough left of them to go to jail.”
The Indigenous priest for the church ceremony at the vigil said there’s no words of comfort to be given.
Travis Enright said he was in the mountains when he got the call to do the vigil and picked out a mountain rock for Raine’s family.
“I layed down and I picked up this stone and was thinking about Anthony and praying about him,” said Enright.
“In this moment as horrific as it is it seems like the creator is trying to make him into a big mountain now. He’s a big, strong mountain now. Instead of being this weak, small body being left at the church door.”
Raine’s mother, Dalyce Raine and her family are waiting for his body to return to them in Maskwacis.
They are planning to hold a wake for him in Louis Bull First Nation before the weekend.