National Post

Thursday, February 18, 1999

Woman charged in infant's death pregnant again

Christie Blatchford
National Post

A young woman accused in the shocking 1997 starvation death of her five-week-old baby is pregnant again.

Renee Heikamp, who was 19 when her infant son, Jordan, died in a public shelter in downtown Toronto without a smidgeon of food in his system, is due to give birth any day now, the National Post has learned.

Ms. Heikamp is charged with criminal negligence causing death in the case, as is Angie Martin, the social worker from the Catholic Children's Aid Society who was supposed to be supervising her. It is only the second time in Ontario that a Children's Aid worker has been charged criminally in a case.

The Catholic agency had been called in by the Humber River Regional Hospital, where Jordan was born prematurely and where officials were so concerned about Ms. Heikamp's ability to care for her tiny son they were reluctant to release her.

Ms. Heikamp was virtually homeless at that time, and had been living off and on in shelters for several years.

It was only with the Children's Aid involved that she was discharged nine days after Jordan had been born. Arrangements were made for her to stay at the Anduhyaun Women's Shelter in downtown Toronto and to be seen by Ms Martin.

But after 27 days at the shelter, Jordan was rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children, weighing half a pound less than he had at birth, and was pronounced dead on arrival.

Days later, it was revealed that none of those who were charged with monitoring Jordan's well-being ever removed the clothes and blankets in which he was swaddled; had they done so, sources said, they would have seen an infant as emaciated and wasted as any Third World famine victim.

The preliminary hearing into the charges against Ms. Heikamp and Ms. Martin is still going on at Toronto's main courthouse, but Ms. Heikamp was relieved from having to attend the proceedings last fall, in part because she was trying to establish herself in a town north of the city and had managed to secure her first apartment. She also wanted to attend school, and with the prosecutor's agreement, the presiding judge ruled she didn't have to be present.

Sources told the Post Ms Heikamp is now involved in a relationship and is in a much different position than she was in the summer of 1997.

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