A family member holds
a photo of Kathleen Beardy (left)
and her siblings
Remembering an Angel:
by Kevin Caruso
Kathleen Beardy was a beautiful, caring, intelligent, popular, and happy 11-year-old girl who had a zest for life.
Kathleen lived with her parents and five brothers and sisters in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the north end of Winnipeg, in the province of Manitoba, Canada.
Kathleen was proud that her family were aborigines and that she lived in the largest aboringinal community in the country.
Everything seemed to be going well for Kathleen until one day when two police officers barged into their home and allegedly committed police brutality against her father while conducting an unwarranted arrest on him.
The brutal arrest, which the police said was for breaking and entering, occurred in front of several of the Beardy children, including Kathleen.
Numerous complaints as well as a civil suit were filed against the police, but the brutal arrest deeply traumatized Kathleen and she quickly fell into a deep depression. “My daughter witnessed the police punching her dad in the face and she was really upset about that,” said Christine Beardy, Kathleen’s mom.
Kathleen was confused and thought that she would never see her dad again. “I'm not going to get to see my dad any more,” she said to one of her friends after the arrest. “It's because of those cops.”
Making matters worse, she was then relentlessly bullied by some of the kids in her neighborhood because of the arrest.
In order to try to cheer herself up, Kathleen bought herself a puppy for two dollars and called it “Baby.”
But, unbelievably, the neighborhood bullies forcibly took her puppy and told her they were going to sell it.
Kathleen was overwhelmed, and later that day she used the puppy’s leash to hang herself from a tree.
She was eleven years old.
The Beardy family is blaming police and racism for the suicide.
“My rights got violated when they came in my place and assaulted me in front of my kids,” said Kelly, Kathleen's father. “They entered my home without a warrant and hit me in the face while my children watched.”
The tree that Kathleen used to end her life was cut down and a makeshift memorial quickly took its place. Stuffed animals, letters, cards, and a Bible were placed on the site.
Kathleen Beardy's Memorial
The family made a collage of photographs of Kathleen for the funeral, including one which showed her at Bible school. “Kathleen believed in both aboriginal culture and the Bible,” said Christine. “She loved going to church.”
In keeping with her Christian faith, Kathleen's body was laid out in an open casket at the Aboriginal Funeral Chapel.
And following aboriginal tradition, Christine cut some of her and Kathleen’s hair and placed the strands side by side in the coffin.
Kathleen was a very special young girl; she used to sell chocolate bars to raise money for charity. And she was paid a small commission for each bar she sold, which allowed her to buy what she referred to as “pretty things.”
Kathleen had many friends who loved her and now deeply miss her. “Kathleen was a good girl and she loved everybody and she treated everybody like they were her little sister,” said Kimberly, one of Kathleen’s closest friends.
Kathleen Beardy is now one of the greatest angels in Heaven.
We miss her.
We love her.
We honor her.
And we will never forget her.
An 11-year-old Angel