'The system failed': Grieving mom says she warned RCMP husband was dangerous
Published Wednesday, October 30, 2019 4:28PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:43PM PDT
VANCOUVER – The mother of eight-year-old Oscar Taitinger says she raised concerns about her estranged husband to the RCMP before their son's tragic and untimely death last week.
Nicole Taitinger told CTV News she left the boy's father, Mark, back in August after enduring what she alleges was years of physical and emotional abuse.
But she still feared for Oscar's safety, and said she had been fighting to have him removed from Mark's custody – until the father and son were found dead in their Coquitlam home on Oct. 21.
Taitinger said when she received a phone call asking her to come down to the police station on Oct. 22, she initially believed she was finally making progress.
"I was expecting Oscar to run out," a heartbroken Taitinger told CTV News in an online conversation.
Instead, a detective told her that Oscar, her youngest of three children, was dead.
Though the police investigation into the deaths is ongoing, authorities have said one of the deceased was the victim of homicide, and that they aren't searching for any suspects.
Taitinger said she was married for 25 years before deciding to run away with nowhere to go.
“The thigh bruise is the last time I let him hit me on Aug. 31,” she told CTV News.
Taitinger said at the beginning, she was stuck living in her Jeep: “I was afraid he would find me so I always stayed mobile.”
On Sept. 11, Taitinger went to the RCMP detachment to file a police report. She told CTV News she gave Mounties photos of her injuries and a threatening email she said came from Mark, and told them she was “terrified what that man would do when or if they finally removed Oscar.”
By October, Taitinger had moved into a shelter, and said staff there called the Ministry of Children and Family Development on her behalf and a social worker reached out to her. After that, she was assured someone would be visiting the house.
Meanwhile, Mark Taitinger was filing for divorce. On Oct. 18, Nicole Taitinger received a court order saying she had to pay $1,036 in spousal support and $433 in child support monthly. Taitinger said she was the breadwinner and that her husband didn't work.
The following Monday, the same day Oscar and Mark were found dead in the house, Taitinger went to see a forensic nurse. She said the nurse documented her injuries and requested her dental records.
It wasn’t until the next day that Taitinger found out her son was dead. She said Oscar was killed while playing the video game Fortnite.
“The asshole shot Oscar while he played his video game in the back of his head,” Taitinger told CTV News.
In looking back at the times she tried to report the violence over the last couple months, she described her family's tragedy as another "domestic issue where once again the system failed.”
Quinn Taitinger, Oscar’s older brother, told CTV News his mother has been “making false allegations” about his dad to police, and that Mark “was well reserved. He could get along with anyone.”
In a statement to CTV News, Mounties said they understand this is “a terribly tragic situation for the family," and that they are conducting a review of the case.
“Without speaking to any specifics, we can also confirm that there are factors involved in this file that meet our criteria to conduct a review and that review is underway. The review would include any possible circumstance or previous police interactions," the RCMP said.
CTV News reached out to the ministry for comment, but was told officials can't discuss the specifics of the case for privacy reasons.
"The death of a child is unthinkable and we extend our deepest sympathies to those who knew and loved him," the ministry said in a statement.
"Each and every time the ministry is contacted we look into the circumstances, assess the risk to the child and the parent’s ability to provide care. Based on those findings, we would take the most appropriate course of action to help ensure the child’s safety and protect their best interests."
To add insult to injury, Coquitlam RCMP confirmed they are investigating a break-and-enter at the family home that took place on Oct. 26.
Quinn Taitinger told CTV News investigators left the back “unlocked” when they were finished at the home, and someone got inside and stole about $15,000 to 20,000 in property.
“Guitars, guitar amps, and pedals, cash, bags, laptops, wallets,” he listed in a Facebook message, “and credit cards (which they used) and a box full of high end knives.”
Mounties say that file is open and no arrests have been made.