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Amanda Jean Simpson (4) - Unsolved Murder (Prince George) 1999

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Chris:
http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86439&Itemid=26

Amanda Jean Simpson's stepfather had one version about how she died, while her then eight-year-old sister and the doctor who attended to her fatal injuries had much different views.

The inconsistencies came to light Monday, during the first day of the coroner's inquest into the 1999 death of the four-year-old Simpson, inside the family's Prince George home.

Stepfather Ronald (Rory) Polson was the only adult home at the time, along with Simpson's three sisters. Polson testified that he had five or six beers and maybe a shot of rum with the guys at work before driving home to the family about 7 p.m. His common-law wife Jerry Walton was just heading off to work the night shift at Humpty's Family Restaurant.

After that, he told coroner Beth Larcombe and the five-person jury, the family settled into normal routines for a Saturday night. The four kids, aged eight to three at the time, were allowed to stay up beyond 10 p.m. because it was a weekend. Polson said they were downstairs doing their own thing while he was playing on the computer and, at the fateful time, was attempting to start a fire in the fireplace. He said each girl in their turn came upstairs to say goodnight, but when the oldest came she was dragging Simpson along and Simpson was clearly severely injured.

"I heard something on the stairs; I don't know if it was Amanda falling because I wasn't there to see," Polson said about the lead-up to the scene, saying nothing suggested to him anyone was injured. He said the kids were always pushing and racing on the stairs so he chalked it up to that.

"I rushed over, took Amanda, found a lump on her head, went to the fridge to get some frozen vegetables and put that on her head," he said, but Simpson was unresponsive and had "a weird kind of breathing" so he went to the bedroom to lay her down on the bed. "Amanda puked (so I picked her up) and ran to the bathroom for some cold water. As we were going into the bathroom I hit the carpet (a bath mat) we have in there in front of the sink and I fell with her against the tub, then carried on trying to get her to respond."

He claimed he turned a cold, light shower on Simpson to revive her, and called Walton at work. She arrived quickly and together they decided to take her to the hospital. He described his mood as "super panic mode." He never thought of calling 911, and they dressed Simpson in her pyjamas and socks before heading out.

It was at Prince George Regional Hospital where doctors and nurses began to have concerns beyond Simpson's fight for life. While Walton went with Simpson in the medivac jet to B.C. Children's Hospital, Polson was arrested. On advice from his lawyer, he told the inquest, he gave the RCMP no statement on the matter.

The Ministry of Social Services were called in on the incident. Their testimony is expected on day two and three of the inquest, but it was revealed that they checked the Simpson girls for signs of sexual and physical abuse and found none.

A 73-page statement was taken from the oldest of Simpson's sisters, however, and painted a much different story of family life in their Oak Street home than what Polson and Walton described. Both said the household was happy, got along well, had typical family flare-ups and children's squabbles, but no extreme behaviour.

"He spanks people really, really hard," said one excerpt from the oldest child read to the inquest. "He sometimes hits people and he pushes them down really hard." She described how he would pick them up by the throat then thrash then down. "It usually makes a loud sound on the floor."

The sister's description of the events of the night in question were much different than Polson's. She said all the kids were downstairs until Polson called up the two smallest ones, including Amanda Simpson.

"I heard some thumping around, maybe somebody running or stamping their feet," she said. "Then I heard Amanda running down the stairs and halfway I heard her falling downstairs and I heard her howling and screaming on the bottom of the stairs and I took her upstairs to show Rory."

The rest of the statement read out loud was consistent with Polson's testimony, except one thing: Polson said he saw no blood, but Simpson's sister said he took her to the shower to wash off the blood.

It was established for the inquest that neither parent had spoken to the sister prior to the statement being made.

Walton does not believe Polson did anything untoward. "I don't believe any injuries were intentionally inflicted by Mr. Polson or anyone," she testified.

In fact, their relationship has survived the eight subsequent years since the tragedy and they have two children together.

The three girls were taken from them by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, put in foster care and have never been returned.

Medical staff at the Emergency Room had a lot of issues with Polson's version of events.

"This was the most disturbing thing in my nursing career," said attending nurse Valerie Hubert.

Pediatrician Dr. Marie Hay went even further.

"The history (provided by Polson) was not consistent with the physical findings," she testified. "Amanda had severe head injuries, retinal hemorrhage, intercranial fractures and brain swelling. She had a very well established (blood clotting condition) and severe hypothermia; she also had multiple bruises on her lower limbs and hip," plus, she found out after initial emergency treatment, a broken collarbone, severe blunt force trauma to the abdomen, and other signs of bodily harm.

"When I looked at the whole constellation of injuries I could not see how this could have occurred from falling out of a bunk bed," said Dr. Hay, which is what she testified Polson first told her happened to Simpson, and he found her at the base of the ladder.

"Since Amanda has died ... I have researched the world's literature on falls, every kind you can imagine including down stairs, against tubs, out of bunk beds. And I am speaking from 30 years of experience ... I do not believe (the fatal injuries) could have been caused by that. It was high-velocity trauma."

Her experience has only provided one other child with similar injuries and similar hypothermic core temperature. That child, she said, was thrown from a vehicle in a winter crash and she landed far from the site of impact and lay in the snow for half an hour before paramedics arrived.

Polson was never prosecuted for the events of Oct. 30, 1999. Coroner's inquests are not fault-finding missions, they are fact-finding missions that may move the jury to recommend changes for agencies or individuals that could prevent similar deaths in future. This inquest is scheduled to continue today and Wednesday with the option, if necessary, to carry on until Friday.

leonagleant:
wow - never prosecuted and went on to have two more children after the first three were taken away as a result of this suspicious death.

cana_nomad:
Leon,

Sadly that is what happens to a lot of people with child welfare involvement- they go on having kids in some sort of attempt to replace the ones that were taken away or to "stick it to the system."  Nevermind children should not be put on this earth in already unhealthy families or to be used as pawns, but that is a different rant.

I am not sure if I believe Rory purposely did something to Amanda, but that an accident of some sort happened which he somehow caused and it was going to look really bad, so his story is off.

Annastaisha:
I dont think he meant to cause that kind of harm, but he testifies to having consumed a fair amount of alcohol and I'm wondering if discipline just went too far... either way, that man should be charged and should NEVER be alone with a child.

leonagleant:
What you have to question is the severity and force of the injuries which were compared to being thrown from a car. I hope the kids who wound up in foster care have had better lives since. Quite a trauma to lose a sibling and then have the family broken up.

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