Traevon Chalifoux-Desjarlais’ mom testifies her son was mistreated, forbidden from eating

Opening day on the coroner's inquest to investigate Desjarlais' death

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By Rigo Bacaltos

Samantha Chalifoux says the mistreatment her son said he faced from an Abbotsford group home played a significant role in her son’s death.

A public coroner’s inquest started Monday morning in Burnaby into the death of Traevon Chalifoux-Desjarlais, a 17- year-old Cree boy found dead in his bedroom closet on Sept. 18, 2020, four days after a missing report was filed by the group home.

Chalifoux recalls conversations with her son

“You shouldn’t have to be hungry, no child should be hungry,” Chalifoux said during testimony at the inquest. She said she received a call from her son informing her that he was “not allowed to eat.”

Chalifoux described her son as a normal teenage boy who loved to play video games and aspired to make a lot of money and go back to school.

She said that her son started making calls to her, informing her about the mistreatment he said he faced in the group home, such as a lack of clean bedding and clothing not being provided for him.

“A group home that’s supposed to be supporting him, be there for him, to be caring for him, shouldn’t turn away,” she said.

Ill-treatment at the group home

Traevon was put under the care of Rees Family Services Inc. by Xyolhemeylh, an Indigenous child and family service agency, but Chalifoux said she did not hear much about her son under their care other than updates from him through phone calls.

Chalifoux said she started getting more phone calls from Traevon, complaining about his treatment at the group home. She said she received a call from him one day, saying that he had been locked out of the group home because the staff was out to get coffee.

“He did not want to be there anymore.”

The inquest will go on for nine days until Dec. 7, 2022.

 

This story has been edited to correct name of Traevon Chalifoux-Desjarlais.

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