Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman
Crimes: Murder, Child Abuse, Torture
Previously published in www.pysih.com.
Jeffrey Baldwin accomplished quite a lot after November 30, 2002. Thanks to Jeffrey, his three siblings got a shot at a good and decent life. Thanks to Jeffrey, amendments were made to the Ontario Child and Family Services Act. Thanks to Jeffrey, Toronto’s Catholic Children’s Aid Society requires background checks on all potential caregivers. Yes, Jeffrey Baldwin certainly made an impact in Ontario in particular, Canada in general.
But Jeffrey Baldwin is not remembered for the things he did. Instead he’s remembered for the things he didn’t. He didn’t live to see his sixth birthday. He didn’t survive years of deprivation and starvation, torture and abuse. He didn’t escape alive from the hellhole that was his home and from the hell beasts who were his grandparents. And tragically he didn’t inspire enough pity in the heartless humans who could have easily saved his life.
Little Jeffrey Baldwin was not the first to suffer at the hands of his grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman. In fact, he wasn’t even the first to die at the hands of his grandmother. Back in 1970 she pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm in the death of her 5-month-old daughter, Eva. She was given a suspended sentence with 1 year’s probation. Ouch!
Baby Eva had died of pneumonia, but an autopsy revealed several fractures of the shoulders, elbows and wrists. Bottineau’s remaining son and daughter were made wards of the Crown. A Catholic Children’s Aid Society (CCAS) assessment of Bottineau at the time described her as an “incompetent parent who was a danger to herself and others.” They got that right!
Bottineau left the father of her children (her cousin, BTW), and in 1975 moved in with Kidman. By 1979 they had three daughters, Yvonne, Yvette and Tammy. They also unbelievably had her previous son and daughter living with them. I’d like to know what bureaucrat thought that was a good idea. Anyway, the children were removed in 1979 because Kidman physically assaulted them. He was convicted of 2 counts of assault causing bodily harm, fined a whopping $150 on each count and given a suspended sentence with 2 year’s probation. Oooh, that must’ve hurt.
Daughter Yvonne moved in with Richard Baldwin when she was 16. They went forth and multiplied four times, one of which was Jeffrey who was born in January, 1997.
Yvonne didn’t turn out to be such a great parent herself. Jeffrey and one of his sisters (one year older and unnamed for confidentiality reasons) were removed by CCAS in April, 1998 because Yvonne was seen severely shaking poor Jeffrey Baldwin.
Under a family court order, these two helpless children were sent to live with Grandma Bottineau and Grandpa Kidman. How could this be? Because nobody at CCAS checked the files! You know, the files that mentioned the convictions for child abuse and assault. The files that mentioned the death of baby Eva. The files that mentioned that Bottineau was diagnosed as a borderline mental defective, depressed and just downright mean.
The assumption was made that the grandparents could be relied on to provide a safe, caring environment. After all, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman had asked for the children, so they must have cared, right? They really cared mostly about the government checks they’d get monthly.
In actuality, Bottineau never cared for the two children. In her diary, she described them as “bad disgusting pigs who can’t behave themselves”. She expressed real hatred for them, decided they were “bad” and treated them accordingly. She apparently liked their two “good” siblings, another boy and girl, and gained custody of them as well.
The “bad” ones were imprisoned in an unheated bedroom. The “bad” sister testified at court how they were locked in at night and had no choice but to crap and piss on the floor. Every morning they’d be forced to clean it up, but if they didn’t work fast enough, Grandma would hit them with a mop handle. And if they got thirsty, she and Jeffrey Baldwin had to drink water from the toilet. They were called pigs, and were made to stand in the pig corner. And as for food, they were forced to dig through the trash to find scraps from the meals that everyone else in the house had eaten.
Pickings were slim, apparently, because when Jeffrey Baldwin died on November 30, 2002, he weighed 19 pounds – 3 less than he weighed at 18 months. He died of septic shock and bacterial pneumonia brought on by chronic malnutrition and sleeping in his own body waste. He was covered in sores, his stomach was distended like a concentration camp victim, and his ribs stuck out a mile. And his poor little tushy was covered in scabs.
His sister was not much better, although she was alive. The foster mother she was turned over to after Jeffrey’s death said this about her condition. “She was very small. She had sores on her legs and her stomach was quite distended. And under the distension of her stomach there was a line of ulcers and sores that were festering and oozing.”
She reportedly reeked of urine, and had lice and eczema over almost all her body.
At the time of Jeffrey Baldwin’s death, 2 children of another daughter, Tammy Kidman, were also living with the grandparents, making a total of 6 children in the house. In addition to the children, 6 adults, Bottineau, Kidman, daughters Yvette and Tammy, and their boyfriends, were living there. Nobody mentioned Jeffrey or his sister to anyone outside the family.
James Mills, the unemployed boyfriend of Yvette, was called as a witness. He had moved into the house 5 months before Jeffrey died and lived there almost 2 weeks before he actually saw Jeffrey Baldwin. Mills, age 21 at Jeffrey’s death, called Bottineau and Kidman mom and dad and said their household was the only family he had ever known.
Mills says he suggested that Jeffrey be taken to hospital but Bottineau rebuffed this suggestion. He didn’t pursue it. By his own admission, Mills had plenty of opportunities to intervene — when he witnessed Jeffrey Baldwin begging fruitlessly for food and water, for example.
But he didn’t want to meddle for fear of losing his free room and board.
“I’m watching out for my own ass,” Mills said in a videotaped statement to police. “I have a life of my own.”
Too bad Jeffrey can’t say the same thing.
Norman Kidman and Elva Bottineau were convicted of second degree murder, and both have been sentenced to life in prison. Kidman can apply for parole after 22 years, and Bottineau will be eligible after 20.
And there was no penalty for any of the other adults in the house who did nothing at all to rescue little Jeffrey and his sister. No penalty in this life anyway. Here’s hoping they R.I.P. (roast in pieces).