A Winnipeg family is speaking out after they say two men threw their teenage son, who lives with an intellectual disability, in a North End dumpster.
It happened while Jean-Micheal Morrissette, 13, walked home from school last Thursday.
His parents, John Morrissette and Marie Kinnear, said their son was accosted by two men and thrown into a trash bin near Flora Avenue and Parr Street on Jan. 7.
Jean-Micheal was trapped inside the bin for hours on a day when temperatures hovered around -15 C.
“I wanted to go out and find the guys that did this to my son and hurt them in the same way,” said Morrissette. “I hope they find who did this to my son.”
Nicole Langlois works in the area and found Jean-Micheal. She told CTV News she could hear faint cries for help when she walking past the dumpster earlier that evening, but couldn’t pinpoint where they were coming from.
It was only when she came back a few hours later, Langlois checked the bin on a gut feeling. She found the 13-year-old sleeping, and covered with garbage.
“All he kept saying was, ‘help they pushed me in here.’ And I kept trying to talk to him and ask him who and he didn’t talk back to me,” said Langlois, adding the boy ran away soon after she let him out.
Jean-Micheal was not hurt in the incident. He is now taking a cab to and from school until his parents can organize more permanent transportation arrangements.
“We owe (Langlois) a lot because if it wasn’t for her, it could’ve been a lot worse,” said Kinnear.
A report was filed with police on Jan. 13; authorities are now investigating.
Jean-Micheal’s family hopes anyone with information or security video from that evening will turn it over to police.
Teen dumped ‘like garbage,’ and left for hours in freezing dumpster
The father of a 13-year-old Winnipeg boy with intellectual disabilities says he expects a thorough investigation after his son was thrown into a garbage bin and left there for hours in the cold.
John Morrissette said he went to Winnipeg police earlier this week to ensure they’re looking into a report that his son, Jean-Micheal Morrissette, was assaulted and tossed into a Dumpster in the 700 block of Flora Avenue by two men while the teen was walking home from school Jan. 7. The teen spent a few hours trapped in the Dumpster in -10C weather that Thursday afternoon before a passerby rescued him.
Morrissette said his son doesn’t like to talk about what happened, but that Jean-Micheal told him he was grabbed by two men he couldn’t identify. He was hit in the side of the head and “knocked out” when he was thrown into the bin.
“He doesn’t like talking about what happened and I don’t push him,” Morrissette said.
“He’s doing OK.”
Morrissette said he doesn’t know exactly how long his son was in the Dumpster, but that he finished school around 2:45 p.m. and returned home around 7 p.m. Jan. 7 — his father thought Jean-Micheal had gone to the boy’s mother’s house after school and didn’t learn the real reason he came home late until the next day.
He said his son, a quiet teen who keeps to himself, “can’t hurt a fly.” Whoever threw him in the Dumpster is “really sick. They need help,” he said.
“Somebody probably did see something and they’re too scared because they’re afraid of retaliation upon them,” Morrissette said.
“I’d like to see criminal charges against these two guys. They assaulted my son and they dumped him in the Dumpster like he was garbage. I want to see them criminally charged and convicted,” he added.
A police cruiser happened to be in the area on Jan. 7 and police were informed of the incident the same day, but Morrissette went back to the police station Jan. 13 with the woman who discovered Jean-Micheal in the bin after she heard him calling for help.
“I believe they are going to be doing a good job” with the police investigation, Morrissette said.
A spokesman for the Winnipeg Police Service said investigators are looking into the assault, but they have no suspects.
“We have the initial (report from a passerby) who fortunately located the child and brought it to our attention, but after that we really have nothing to work on,” said Const. Eric Hofley.
Hofley said he is not aware of any similar incidents being reported to Winnipeg police.
Jean-Micheal has been taking taxis to and from school since the incident and as of next week, his father says, he’ll be provided with transportation to Isaac Newton School.
In response to the incident, a spokeswoman for the Winnipeg School Division said the school board has reminded students about street safety and the importance of walking with a buddy.