Kanina Sue Turtle’s family sues Tikinagan for $5.9M over her ‘wrongful death’ in foster home - APTN NewsAPTN News

Kanina Sue Turtle’s family sues Tikinagan for $5.9M over her ‘wrongful death’ in foster home

Barbara Suggashie, left, and her husband Clayton Suggashie hold the picture of their deceased daughter Kanina Sue Turtle who died by suicide Oct. 29, 2016. APTN file photo

(Barbara Suggashie, left, and her husband Clarence Suggashie hold the picture of their deceased daughter Kanina Sue Turtle who died by suicide Oct. 29, 2016. APTN file photo)

Kenneth Jackson
APTN News
The family of Kanina Sue Turtle is suing Tikinagan Child and Family Services for $5.9 million after the 15-year-old died by suicide inside a Sioux Lookout foster home the agency owned and operated in October 2016.

The lawsuit alleges Kanina’s death was preventable and the result of Tikinagan’s “reckless disregard” for her wellbeing.

“The Defendants conduct caused Kanina to experience severe mental suffering and injury and ultimately a wrongful death,” the claim alleges.

The lawsuit was filed in a Bracebridge, Ont. courthouse Thursday by lawyer Cara Valiquette from Falls Law Group.

The claim details much of what APTN News has already published since February.

Kanina had been in and out the child welfare system for several years.

She filmed her death inside the Tikinagan home that was still being used this past summer by the agency.

An APTN investigation found Kanina was clearly suicidal, yet left alone for 45 minutes before a Tikinagan worker noticed she was gone.

“(Tikinagan) failed to adequately monitor Kanina,” the claim alleges. “Its employees or agents had no or improper training, qualifications, education and experience to supervise and/or assist Indigenous children suffering from mental health issues, including Kanina.”

APTN has viewed the video and previously reported a worker comes into the room and says what sounds like “Kanina, take my hand.”

She then laid Kanina’s lifeless body on the floor, which isn’t visible in the video and leaves the room. She returned quickly talking on a cellphone with emergency personnel. She also appeared to try to resuscitate Kanina by pumping air into her lungs with a plastic device.

But it was futile. Too much time had passed.

“She’s gone,” the woman said as a baby can be heard crying from another room.

Within minutes sirens are heard and paramedics arrive.

“No pulse,” one of them is heard saying.

Her parents, Barabara and Clarence Suggashie, told APTN they filed the lawsuit to get answers, as they have never been told why Kanina was left alone the day she died.

“Every day we miss her, every day we go through sadness, especially because of the video she left behind,” said Clarence. “ She had dreams about her future, and positive goals. She thought about being a police officer.”

He said Kanina just wanted to come home. The family didn’t know Kanina filmed her suicide until at least six months after her death. Police returned the iPod and the family guessed the password. The lawsuit alleges no one told them the video was on there.

Several days before Kanina killed herself, she was in the hospital for self-harming according to a video she posted on her Facebook account.

It’s a recording of a live video where Kanina filmed what appears to be a Tikinagan worker sitting in a chair in the hospital room as they wait to be seen by a doctor.

The unidentified woman talks on a mobile phone explaining to someone she is at the hospital with Kanina and how her shift is ending soon.

Turtle begins the video by showing her injuries and says very little, other than she is bored.

The worker agrees it is boring and notices there is no television to watch.

“So quit cutting yourself so you don’t have to come here,” the woman says on the video.

Kanina then turns the camera to the woman who is looking down at her phone.

“(Tikinagan) created a situation of trust and an illusion of safety which the Plaintiffs relied on, and given Kanina’s mental health issues, this trust prevented the Plaintiffs from being able to appreciate the risks of death which may be encountered when Indigenous children are residing in the care of Tikinagan,” the claim alleges.

Kanina’s Facebook account gave many hints of her deteriorating mental state in the days leading up to her death.

“(I don’t know) what to do anymore,” she wrote Oct. 24, 2016. “Just gunna give up on everything.”

A video on her Facebook posted Oct. 27, 2016, that was recorded live, shows the bruised outline of a noose across her neck.

“(Tikinagan) failed to have in place emergency medical procedures and protocols when it suspected, or ought to have suspected, that a child in its group home would attempt to inflect harm on herself,” the claim alleges.

Then on Oct. 28, a day before her death, she attempted again and also filmed that.

APTN has viewed that video.

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Kanina says. “I’m sorry for what … umm… I’m going to do.”

The video is just over a minute when she stops recording. She didn’t say anything in the video of her death.

“Kanina had been receiving limited counselling in the days leading up to her death, which did not adequately address her needs,” the claim alleges.

Tikinagan didn’t immediately respond to APTN when provided an opportunity to address the lawsuit.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Kanina is buried on Poplar Hill First Nation near the Manitoba and Ontario border.

kjackson@aptn.ca

16 Responses to “Kanina Sue Turtle’s family sues Tikinagan for $5.9M over her ‘wrongful death’ in foster home”

  1. Crysach1982@outlook.com'
    Crystal October 4, 2018 at 12:51 am #

    I met this girl when she was in my ex’s sisters care and she was such a polite respectful girl. She was so quiet but happy. Shy but full of smiles. I was so shocked when I heard what happened to her. My condolences to her family and friends. She had a beautiful giggle and smile this beautiful angel.

  2. c**********@outlook.com'
    Crystal February 19, 2019 at 7:46 pm #

    I met this girl when she was in my ex’s sisters care and she was such a polite respectful girl. She was so quiet but happy. Shy but full of smiles. I was so shocked when I heard what happened to her. My condolences to her family and friends. She had a beautiful giggle and smile this beautiful angel.

  3. dian838@hotmail.ca'
    diane lachance October 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm #

    my heart goes out to this family,the system failed your child badly. I am a fosterparent myself and it just breaks my heart to see stuff like this going on.so sorry for your loss. dl.

  4. d******@hotmail.ca'
    diane lachance February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    my heart goes out to this family,the system failed your child badly. I am a fosterparent myself and it just breaks my heart to see stuff like this going on.so sorry for your loss. dl.

  5. jkakeway@gmail.com'
    Johnny Joe September 29, 2018 at 8:36 am #

    I’m not even sure where to begin, this is a tragic loss for the family. It saddens me that she felt the need to video tape her death, maybe she was making sure the agency failed to protect this young Anishinaabe girl, the failed in so many ways! The workers are not there for compassion or empathy or anything else, but the pay check! My condolences to this young angels family! I hope you get justice for your baby girl whether it be money or just the justice for closure!

  6. j*******@gmail.com'
    Johnny Joe February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    I’m not even sure where to begin, this is a tragic loss for the family. It saddens me that she felt the need to video tape her death, maybe she was making sure the agency failed to protect this young Anishinaabe girl, the failed in so many ways! The workers are not there for compassion or empathy or anything else, but the pay check! My condolences to this young angels family! I hope you get justice for your baby girl whether it be money or just the justice for closure!

  7. albertalswain@gmail.com'
    berta September 28, 2018 at 6:10 am #

    Rip kanina❤
    Condolences to the family❤

  8. Rgaywish@gmail.com'
    Richard Gaywish September 28, 2018 at 2:12 am #

    I am amazed that these type of things are still happening in our agencies, these are agencies managed by a board of First Nation leaders in most cases, 30 or do yrs ago we took over the child care from the province, at that time our agencies were to be preventative rather then taking children away, today they are exactly like the provincial cfs agencies, we have failed our future n us

  9. a************@gmail.com'
    berta February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    Rip kanina❤
    Condolences to the family❤

  10. Tommyrvn@yahoo.ca'
    Tom September 28, 2018 at 1:54 am #

    I was in foster care myself and I know how it is. It’s easy to see how this kind of thing happens. People dont work there for the kids. They work there for the paychecks. I had a worker try to bully me. But by my luck I got to speak with their boss every month for a kinda follow up meeting from the previous month. Told her if it continues I’m going to end up hurting the worker out of anger if it continues. That worker ended up else where immediately. The people they hire aren’t there for the kids and that’s wrong. When you are a parent. That’s done for free. That’s done unconditionally. Being a child care worker is a full time job. But it should be treated as your doing this for your own kids. Guiding them and making sure they make something of themselves. So I say go get em.

  11. r*******@gmail.com'
    Richard Gaywish February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    I am amazed that these type of things are still happening in our agencies, these are agencies managed by a board of First Nation leaders in most cases, 30 or do yrs ago we took over the child care from the province, at that time our agencies were to be preventative rather then taking children away, today they are exactly like the provincial cfs agencies, we have failed our future n us

  12. t*******@yahoo.ca'
    Tom February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    I was in foster care myself and I know how it is. It’s easy to see how this kind of thing happens. People dont work there for the kids. They work there for the paychecks. I had a worker try to bully me. But by my luck I got to speak with their boss every month for a kinda follow up meeting from the previous month. Told her if it continues I’m going to end up hurting the worker out of anger if it continues. That worker ended up else where immediately. The people they hire aren’t there for the kids and that’s wrong. When you are a parent. That’s done for free. That’s done unconditionally. Being a child care worker is a full time job. But it should be treated as your doing this for your own kids. Guiding them and making sure they make something of themselves. So I say go get em.

  13. pa4341791@hotmail.com'
    Johnjay September 27, 2018 at 9:16 pm #

    Yes.Hopefully it works for you and you show them and everyone else that is involved with it that they should not sit so high in there positions and feel that they always have to fill a Quota to show there doing a job.And have more consideration to the Families and the parents and stop treating it like a legalized culling.

  14. glosmith5@yahoo.com'
    Gloria Smith September 27, 2018 at 9:06 pm #

    my heartfelt condolences in your time of grief. Prayers and smudging for the family

  15. p********@hotmail.com'
    Johnjay February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    Yes.Hopefully it works for you and you show them and everyone else that is involved with it that they should not sit so high in there positions and feel that they always have to fill a Quota to show there doing a job.And have more consideration to the Families and the parents and stop treating it like a legalized culling.

  16. g********@yahoo.com'
    Gloria Smith February 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    my heartfelt condolences in your time of grief. Prayers and smudging for the family