Boy, 2, sur­vives 10 days alone with slain mom

Fends for him­self in Ot­tawa apart­ment

National Post (National Edition) - - CANADA - GARY DIM­MOCK AND JACQUIE MILLER Ot­tawa Cit­i­zen

OT­TAWA • A two-year-old Ot­tawa boy fended for him­self for 10 days af­ter his mother was killed in their fifth-floor apart­ment of a pub­lic hous­ing build­ing, the Ot­tawa Cit­i­zen has learned.

De­tec­tives and doc­tors were left mar­vel­ling at the young boy’s health, and more, his will to sur­vive.

The child was dis­cov­ered dur­ing a rou­tine fire drill at the apart­ment build­ing on Burn­side Av­enue in the Me­chan­icsville neigh­bour­hood on March 22. The door was un­locked and when some­one checked to make sure every­one was out of the unit dur­ing the drill, they found the young boy along­side his dead mother.

The 35-year-old woman had been dead for 10 days.

Her death was con­sid­ered sus­pi­cious and as­signed to homi­cide de­tec­tives. On Thurs­day, af­ter get­ting full au­topsy re­ports, po­lice charged crack dealer Mo­hamad S. Barkha­dle, 31, with first-de­gree mur­der in the March 12 killing of the woman de­scribed by friends as a “good per­son, good mother.”

A woman who lived next door said she heard bang­ing com­ing from in­side her neigh­bour’s apart­ment on March 11.

Marcy Chabot said she heard foot­steps run­ning down the hall­way out­side her apart­ment around 11 p.m. on March 11, then what sounded like a per­son be­ing slapped. “I heard some­one slap some­one, skin on skin.”

She heard the door slam shut.

“There was about two min­utes of bang­ing in the apart­ment, then noth­ing.” The bang­ing was on the mother’s liv­ing room wall, which ad­joined the bed­room wall in Chabot’s apart­ment. The walls in the apart­ments in the build­ing are thin and sound trav­els eas­ily, Chabot said.

Chabot said she had ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of con­flict with the woman, and had called po­lice roughly 10 times to com­plain about what she con­sid­ered her neigh­bour’s abu­sive be­hav­iour, such as scream­ing, swear­ing and pound­ing on Chabot’s door.

The woman of­ten banged on the wall of her apart­ment — some­times for lengthy pe­ri­ods of time — so Chabot said she didn’t take any spe­cial no­tice of the bang­ing that night. “It was un­usual only (be­cause) it lasted two min­utes.”

“I didn’t know she was in dan­ger or I would have helped her.”

In the sub­se­quent days, her neigh­bour’s apart­ment was un­usu­ally quiet, said Chabon. She said she doesn’t re­mem­ber hear­ing a child cry­ing.

On March 22 around 11 a.m., a main­te­nance man ar­rived to check smoke de­tec­tors.

The main­te­nance man knocked on the door, and when no one an­swered, opened it. Chabot heard him talking to the lit­tle boy next-door, “Is your mommy home?”

A few min­utes later, the main­te­nance man emerged from the apart­ment.

“The guy came run­ning out, and he was freak­ing. He seemed to be in shock.” He be­gan mak­ing calls, said Chabot. Paramedics quickly ar­rived and the boy was led into the hall­way, where sev­eral neigh­bours had gath­ered. They were soon run­ning to get sup­plies from their apart­ments.

“One woman ran down the hall­way to get a di­a­per. I got some wipes. (Paramedics) asked me if I had any crack­ers.” Chabot found a pair of her own socks to give the boy.

The boy, who was al­ways a quiet child, ap­peared calm, she said. He was dressed in py­ja­mas.

“It was sur­real. He wasn’t up­set or any­thing.”

“They changed his di­a­per right in the hall­way.”

From the open door of the apart­ment, Chabot could see sev­eral sippy cups on the cof­fee ta­ble in the liv­ing room. The child was an in­de­pen­dent lit­tle boy who knew how to get food from the fridge and turn on the TV, she said.

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