TORONTO – The father of a Toronto boy who starved to death in the care of his grandparents says when his son was a toddler he was very energetic and loved Superman, jumping off chairs to try to fly.
Richard Baldwin is telling an inquest into his son Jeffrey’s death that he was a happy boy, always wanting hugs and kisses.
Baldwin and his common-law wife lost custody of Jeffrey to her parents when he was a toddler.
Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman got custody of Jeffrey and his three siblings first by children’s aid societies then permanently by the courts despite having previous child abuse convictions.
Baldwin says if he had known about Bottineau and Kidman’s past he would not have allowed them to get custody of his children, saying he would have preferred that they go into foster care.
In Bottineau and Kidman’s home, Jeffrey wasted away and eventually starved to death, weighing just 21 pounds — about the same as his weight on his first birthday.
Baldwin testified Wednesday that he knew something was terribly wrong the last time he saw his frail five-year-old son.
But Baldwin said he felt powerless to ask for help from a system that had branded the grandparents who would eventually starve the boy to death as model caregivers.
Bottineau and Kidman are serving life sentences for second-degree murder.