Memorial to be built in Saint John park for victims of child neglect
As young kids soak up the last few days of summer vacation in Saint John’s Rainbow Park, preparations are underway for the playground's newest addition.
A memorial will soon be on display for John Ryan Turner and Jackie Brewer, two New Brunswick children who died of neglect in the 1990s.
"It's unfortunate it's taken so long to get to part two, but better late than never,” says Saint John councillor Donna Reardon.
Volunteers built the playground close to Jackie's home, but no one ever built the memorial the judge suggested until now.
A musical ceremony will take place at Rainbow Park on Sept. 22. Students from St. John the Baptist/King Edward School will plant flowers for the memorial garden.
Community organization P.U.L.S.E. and Heritage Memorials Ltd. are working on a headstone with both children's names engraved.
“We just can't forget this happened,” says child, youth and senior advocate Norman Bosse. "We can never forget it, but we should also say, ‘What can we leave from it?’”
Bosse remembers the anger felt across the province after Jackie's death. He says politicians promised to prevent another tragedy.
“Jaqueline Brewers death brought about the Child Death Committee in New Brunswick," says Bosse. “The child death reviews were done by the Department of Social Services at the time. But if I want to take it one step further, I can. I have the authority to do that."
For a while, Jackie's memorial was put to the side. Councillor Donna Reardon is happy it's finally being done.
"We need people to remember that it did happen so it doesn't happen again," she says.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.