TORONTO - One of the six adults living in a house where a five-year-old boy was starved to death by his grandparents says the boy's treatment "bugged" him, but he didn't want to "create friction" by saying anything about it.
When Jeffrey Baldwin died in November 2002, weeks shy of his sixth birthday, he weighed 21 pounds — about the same as he did on his first birthday.
His grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, who were ultimately convicted of second-degree murder in his death, had been granted custody of Jeffrey and his three siblings despite having previous child abuse convictions.
At the time of Jeffrey's death six adults and six children were living in the house, including Bottineau and Kidman, their two daughters and their partners, Jeffrey and his siblings and two cousins.
Mike Reitemeier — one of the daughters' partners — testified today at a coroner's inquest into Jeffrey's death that he didn't speak up about the boy's treatment because he didn't want to be kicked out of the house.
Reitemeier says in the days before Jeffrey died he had trouble standing, eating and even holding his head up and he could tell Jeffrey "wasn't going to make it."
Coroner's counsel Jill Witkin asked him if he ever called 911 or children's aid. He hadn't.
"I should have," Reitemeier said. "I mean, I torture myself every day since this has happened about that...I don't know why I didn't do something."