Mother pleads for information after 24-year-old son attacked, left for dead
VANCOUVER -- A B.C. mother is asking for information after her 24-year-old son was violently assaulted and left for dead in a tent in Strathcona Park last month.
In late September, Connie Sinclair hadn’t heard from her son Carl in a few days. Connie lives in Kamloops and her son was in Vancouver, so Connie called Carl’s girlfriend. She found out the couple had been arguing.
“They’d been having a rough time for a bit now and then he’s been leaving the apartment to go and live on the streets and leaving her in the apartment,” Sinclair said. “I think they had a disagreement and Carl just left.”
Connie was told that Carl may have ended up in the tent city in Strathcona Park, so she started making calls to find him.
“I had phoned the hospitals myself and that’s how I found my son in ICU in Vancouver General,” she said. “I flipped out in Kamloops and I was freaking out and I wanted to get the Vancouver as fast as I could.”
She took a bus to Vancouver and booked a place to stay in the Downtown Eastside. When she visited Carl in hospital, she saw the full extent of his injuries.
“He’s lost his left leg up to his hip and he’s fighting the infection so he might lose more up the torso,” Connie said. “They’re trying to save his left arm because it’s pretty mangled up, he can't move his left fingers yet, it’s all kind of in a sling. It also looks like he had a burn across his chest, it looks like a gash almost.”
Carl was found by paramedics on Sept. 22 after someone made an anonymous call to 911. At the time, Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said police believed “the injured victim may have been lying on the ground for 12 hours” before help arrived.
Connie believes her son got into some kind of fight, but has no other details. He can’t communicate with her because he’s heavily sedated and requires a breathing tube, and may not even know how bad his injuries are.
“It was so violent that the cops couldn’t even tell me how violent it was, because I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I knew exactly what happened to my son.” Connie said.
Carl was on disability for mental health issues and also worked in construction. A few years ago he was hit by a car while crossing at a pedestrian crossing and needed four rounds of surgery on his right leg. His family says that led to substance abuse, but Carl was in recovery.
Connie gushed while showing his photo, saying “he’s a really, really, good kid.”
Carl’s family believes he will be in hospital for some time yet. Connie has been living in low-income housing in Kamloops but is hoping to transfer her BC Housing file to Vancouver to be closer to her son and help with his recovery.
“He’s going to need so much help, he’s going to need proper housing, disability housing and he’s going to need a wheelchair,” she said. “I also want to get him a PTSD dog to be with him because he gets startled every time he wakes up. He’s really traumatised.”
Police are also investigating a stabbing at Strathcona Park on Friday during which the victim was similarly left unattended for hours before police and paramedics arrived.