'We didn't want him to go': Toddler sent back to parents 6 weeks before death, says great aunt
The woman who was raising a Calgary toddler says she and her husband "tried everything to keep him" but were forced to give the boy back to his biological parents six weeks before they allegedly killed him.
"He had to go back. We didn't want him to go, we tried everything to keep him," said Alice Finley following a court appearance
Her great nephew Gabriel Sinclair Pasqua died in October 2021. He was 18 months old.
More than a year later, his parents, Sonya Pasqua and Michael Sinclair, were arrested and charged with manslaughter.
The pair made court appearances on Wednesday and will appear again later this month.
Finley and other members of the child's family attended court wearing orange shirts crested with angel wings and the boy's name.
Six weeks later, he was gone
In 2020, a day after Gabriel was born, he was placed in the care of Finley and her husband, Gerry Bakoway. They raised Gabriel in their Taber home, where he grew into the "happiest baby."
"He was a little angel, he just loved everybody," said Finley. "He was just such a good little boy."
But in August 2021, Finley and Bakoway were ordered to give Gabriel back to Pasqua and Sinclair.
"He went back to his parents August 15, and six weeks later, he was gone," said a tearful Finley.
On Oct. 5, 2021, police and paramedics were called to a home in the southeast Calgary community of Radisson Heights.
Gabriel was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tough journey ahead
Last month, Pasqua and Sinclair were charged with manslaughter following a lengthy investigation.
Pasqua was granted bail last week.
Following Tuesday's court appearance, Debbie Fehr, Gerry's sister, thanked the police on behalf of her family.
"We'd like to thank the Calgary Police Service for their diligence during a difficult investigation," said Fehr.
"We're grateful that charges have been laid but we know it's going to be a tough, tough journey ahead."
Fehr says the family plans to be at court throughout the process.
"Gabriel was precious, he was loved and he's missed every single day."