Sunday, February 11, 2018

Training school survivor haunted for decades: Was James Forbes killed?

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TORONTO—The cracking sound and almost black blood have haunted Rick Brown for close to 55 years, leaving invisible scars and one abiding question: What became of young James Forbes?

The last time Brown saw James is forever etched in his mind — moments that have stretched into decades.

As Brown tells it, the boys were drifting off to sleep in the darkened dormitory at the provincial training school in Cobourg, Ont., when a supervisor’s booted footsteps sounded in the corridor and the lights flipped on. The man walked over to James’ bunk bed and ordered him to get up. James refused. Brown, fearing a beating coming, says he whispered urgently to the boy to get up.

“I can remember it like it was yesterday,” says Brown, now 64, and living in Kitchener. “James was terrified. I remember seeing the blankets shaking. He was shaking. His hands were shaking.”

The supervisor, Brown says, pulled the hapless lad from bed and “beat the daylights” out of him right there.

“Geez, it’s hard to talk about it,” he says, his voice breaking on several occasions.  (more...)


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