Calgary Sun

Friday, July 2, 1999

Forever tainted

By PETER SMITH -- Calgary Sun
The bodies of Calgarians Joshua Yano, 3, and his sister Brittany, 5, were found inside the bathtub of this Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C. condo where their family was vacationing.

FAIRMONT HOT SPRINGS, B.C. -- The murders of two young Calgary children hung heavy over this holiday valley as it tried to celebrate Canada Day yesterday.

Not far up the highway from where five-year-old Brittany Yano and her three-year-old brother, Joshua were slain Tuesday, other kids played excitedly, oblivious to the tragedy -- as they should.

I watched squealing, happy kids catching goodies thrown from revellers on floats in the Invermere Canada Day parade and couldn't help thinking of Brittany and Joshua.

For all I know, maybe the family's original holiday plans included the kids attending the parade, just up the road from their Mountain side Vacation Villa holiday home, where they died, allegedly at the hand of their mother.

But Brittany and Joshua weren't among the happy kids darting into the road to snatch up the sweets thrown from other happy kids on the floats.

Instead, the headlines proclaiming their deaths stared out of newspaper boxes, starkly visible to the kids rumbling by on their brightly-decorated floats.

And in the Fairmont resort itself, where vacationing Calgary engineer Craig Yano returned to his holiday condo to make the shattering discovery of his children drowned in the bathtub, caring management felt it only fitting to make some Canada Day show of respect to the children.

Resort president Carol Seable told me of the plan to call for a moment's silence during last night's firework display out of respect for the children.

After all, as Carol pointed out, just everybody on vacation in the valley knew about the shocking murders.

For 40 years, Carol's family has run the resort with never a tragedy -- so the enormity of two innocent kids murdered and their mother charged with the slayings, has overwhelmed everyone.

"This is the first time we've ever had any kind of guest loss," she said.

That the children were drowned in their bathtub was bizarre to Carol.

"We've never even had a drowning in our major pools -- and that's a pretty good record in all those years, when you consider how long we've had those pools and how big they are.

"And now this, it's so bizarre."

Like everyone in the valley, Carol shares the community's incredulity that the children's mother was charged.

"It's incomprehensible that any mother may have done that to her babies in the first place, but in the second place, that it happened where a family has its little holiday getaway makes it unbelievable.

"It's so beautiful here, that's what makes it so shocking. Why would someone come out here and why would this happen where they probably had their most peaceful family times together?" said Carol.

Many people are asking that, but no one will know until Brittany and Joshua's mom, Diane, 37, stands trial, and the explanation for the unexplainable may finally be made public.

Carol once had the dreadful personal trauma of dealing with a family member killed in a plane crash -- but now she must deal with finding counselling for her staff.

This is the sad kind of problem she's facing.

"We even had one of our mowers yesterday who had seen the kids playing on the grass the day before and didn't want to mow in that area," she said.

"You can see, it's already beginning to affect people, so we are definitely insisting our staff talk to the counsellors we've made available to them."

Canada Day should be remembered for parades and fireworks and happy times.

I have a feeling people in future will remember Canada Day in this valley as a sad time of year when two little children were murdered here.

Copyright© 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.