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Premier won't commit to public inquiry in tragic death of Port Alberni boy


Despite the end of criminal court proceedings in the tragic killing of a six-year-old Port Alberni boy, there remains many unanswered questions.

Dontay Lucas died in 2018 after being returned to the care of his mother, Rykel Frank. Both Frank and Dontay’s stepfather, Mitchell Frank, were sentenced last week to 15 years in prison for manslaughter.

On Thursday, the premier was asked if he would support a public inquiry into Dontay’s death.

He did not commit to this, but promised, as he did in January, answers would be forthcoming.

“This is a horrific case, a terrible death of a child under appalling circumstances that resulted in criminal charges and convictions,” David Eby said.

“For the provinces side of this, our duty, our obligation to get answers both for policy makers on our side to make sure that the province does everything we can to prevent this from ever happening again, but also for the public so they have clarity about what went wrong and what’s being done to address those issues,” David Eby said.

The premier said the coroner is investigating Dontay’s death. The Representative for Children and Youth, Jennifer Charlesworth, is also doing a review that will include Dontay’s case. That review should be complete in July.

One of Dontay’s former foster parents, Karen Ruttan, told CTV earlier this year that child services should have done more to protect him.

At the time, Charlesworth confirmed child services had been contacted about concerns in Dontay’s home.

BC’s Minister of Children and Family Development, said in an interview with CTV News, that she is committed to finding answers.

“As minister, it’s absolutely my commitment to Dontay, to kids like Dontay, to community that six years on is still reverberating with this loss, we are doing everything in our power to learn from this situation and get it right for the kids who need us too,” Grace Lore said.

Lore also said that, “All of our ministry folks and the indigenous child and family services agencies that work across the province have responsibilities to check in on kids that are in our care.”

She said since she became minister, additional changes have been made to increase accountability and oversight.

She said she could not comment on whether anyone in the ministry had been disciplined for the failings in Dontay’s case.

Lord also said that her ministry was in the process of hiring an indigenous child welfare director who will be responsible for overseeing the safety of children in indigenous care. Top Stories


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