Family continues search for answers after Calgary toddler’s suspicious death

Gabriel Sinclair-Pasqua was 18-months-old when his life was cut short.

“Knowing now that we’ll never see him again (has) been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through,” said Gerry Bakoway, Sinclair-Pasqua’s great uncle.

The boy spent the majority of his life in the care of Bakoway, along with his great aunt, in Taber. In August, Bakoway says Sinclair-Pasqua went to live with his parents in Calgary.

“A lot of people said that Gabriel was lucky to have us, and we always say ‘we’re lucky to have Gabriel,'” Bakoway said.

On Oct. 5, Calgary Police were called to the 2800 block of 14 Avenue S.E. at around 11:20 a.m. for reports of a toddler in medical distress.

Despite the best efforts of first responders, police said the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The homicide unit investigates every sudden death of a child, but in this case police say it’s being treated as suspicious. Two adults were held for questioning.

“There’s confusion, there’s anger,” Bakoway said. “[We] want answers.”

Fatalities involving children often take investigators weeks or months to resolve.

“The Calgary Police (Service) has been incredible,” Bakoway said. “We were told we have to be patient. It’d be a long investigation.”

CALGARY RECORDED 19 HOMICIDES IN 2021

Homicide statistics from the Calgary Police Service. Sinclair-Pasqua’s death has not been ruled a homicide, however, 19 deaths in Calgary this year have been classified as such.

That’s compared to 35 homicides in Calgary in 2020.

“Looking at the five-year average for homicides, last year certainly was an anomaly in the sense that we saw a lot more homicides than we normally do,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta with the CPS Homicide Unit.

“The motivation for those homicides really ranged from deadly confrontation all the way to organized crime.”

Since 2016, 40 to 45 per cent of Calgary’s homicide victims died by gun violence, with 2017 and 2018 being the two outlier years. Out of 19 homicide in Calgary in 2021, nine of the victims were shot.

“We are very concerned about the prevalence of guns in our community,” Schiavetta said. “We have a dedicated firearms investigation team that looks at where these firearms are coming from, how they’re being trafficked, and how they’re getting to criminals.”

Anyone with information on any of Calgary’s unsolved homicides is asked to contact the non-emergency line by calling 403-266-1234.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

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