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Miguel Fernandes
February 11, 2006  - September 12, 2007

Sergio Fernandes, who was 23 at the time and Melissa Alexander, who was 22 at the time, are the parents of Miguel Fernandes, who was 18 months old at the time of his death. Melissa also has a little boy named Shawn, who was 29 months old at the time of his brothers death and was her child from a previous relationship. Melissa called 911 on September 12, 2007, to report that her child had pulled some hot water on to himself and being experiences and working in the filed of first aide, she has applied cream and put bandages on the burns Miguel suffered the day before.

Paramedics were horrified at the sight they saw when the arrived at the home. Miguel had skin missing from his shoulders all the way to his feet, on his back. On the front of his body, Miguel suffered burns from his hips down to his feet. Skin was peeling off of his body where the scalding hot water had touched and burned him. It was reported that the only places he was not burned were his face, chest, arms knee tops, toes and genitals. Miguel was transported to the hospital, but died because his mother had not taken him sooner. SHOCKINGLY, neighbors would say that they had heard the screams from this little boy, for hours and not ONE of them had the decency to call police. Paramedic, Tony
Iagallo said:

"She said that the baby had been burned by hot water the other night. She said she
put Vaseline and cotton material on the burn site. I also asked her if she took the
baby to the hospital and she said she did not"

At some point, Melissa changed her story and said that she was going to give her son a bath and when she put him into the water, he started to cry so she took him out. With Miguel screaming, Melissa said she could not figure out why he was crying because she felt the water wasn't that hot.

Melissa was originally arrested and charged with aggravated assault and that charge was changed to second degree murder after autopsy results showed that Miguel had died after being submerged into hot water. A friend of Melissa's, who wanted to be anonymous, said that what happened to Miguel was an accident and that Melissa had been boiling
water to soak her hair and that the water was accidentally spilled on him. Toronto Police Detective, Sgt. Dan Sheppard said:

"It's tragic and the horror that this young boy went through being scalded like that. The pain and
suffering he went through is a terrible thing and as a Police Officer, somebody had to talk for him now"


Melissa's bond was set at $125,000. and on October 5, she was able to bond out of jail under the condition that she stayed with her grandmother and her father who would be held responsible for the full amount of her bail if she failed to show up for court. Melissa was also ordered not to drink or do any illegal drugs and she would have to keep up with her schooling as well as get a job. Melissa was granted supervised visit with her son, Shawn, who was placed in the care of CPS. As a condition of her release, Melissa would also not be permitted to be around any children under the age of 12, other than her son and she was not allowed to contact Sergio at all.

Maria Fernandes found out that Melissa had bailed out and she was upset:

"I wanted to see justice done. Unfortunately, this is Canada"

Melissa's charge of murder, for what she did to Miguel was changed on November 25, 2010, medical neglect after she "failed to provide the necessities of life" and at some point it was changed to manslaughter. Melissa's trial began in January of 2011, with no jury and Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy was the only one who would decide what would happen to Melissa who was in court alone.

The Prosecutor, Barry Stagg, said that Miguel had burns over 40% of this body and that his flesh had been peeled off. Dr Howard Clarke testified that Miguel appeared to have been placed into scalding water for several seconds. At the home, investigators had found Miguel's skin in the trash in the kitchen as well as in the bathroom. The home smelled of vomit and Miguel's bedding was stained with the fluids which has leaked out of his body while he lay there dying. Even while her child was suffering and dying, Melissa left her boys alone and went shopping that day as was seen on video showing her out and also by receipts showing what she had purchased.

Sergio testified that Melissa had called him and told him that she had water boiling on the stove and that Miguel had pulled the pot over onto himself. Claiming the burns were not bad, Melissa said she took him to the clinic and that she was applying Polysporin to the burns. Sergio said he had no reason to believe the burns were serious. Sergio got home from work at about 7:00 p.m. and he tried to give him a bottle, Miguel wouldn't take it:

"He was very still. He was quiet. He didn't make a sound. He never moved"



Sergio wanted to check the burns and started to remove Miguel's clothes when Melissa stopped him. Melissa said that if Sergio woke him up, he would start crying. Sergio checked him several more times and when he was finally asleep, Sergio kissed him goodnight and went to bed. The next morning when Sergio woke up, the police and paramedics were already there trying to help Miguel.

Forensic Pathologist, Dr. David Chiasson, testified that Miguel was most likely placed on his back in the scalding water and that had cause 3rd degree burns on his body causing Miguel to go into shock, his body would have swollen up and his blood pressure would not have been maintainable causing his heart to beat too fast. Without medical care, Miguel went into cardiopulmonary arrest. Also reported was that during and autopsy, Miguel was found to have suffered from internal bleeding deep in his tissue and muscles on his bottom which was probably caused by blunt force impact.

Catherine Currie, Melissa's lawyer, said that Miguel had probably fallen down and that is how his bottom had been injured. Catherine said that Miguel had died because of the burns he had and not because Melissa had failed to get him the medical attention he needed saying that hindsight is 20/20 and that Vaseline and Polysporin had not been enough to save his life:

"To take my client and ignore the real circumstances that she was in is to deny the situation of
many parents who are looking after their children, to look at her and say, "You did the wrong thing,
you should have phoned 911, that's it, end of story", as well as "What I'm suggesting to you is that
the minimum standard of care in this case, because the child died, obviously was woefully inadequate,
but it was care", My client did not provide no care for her child"

Catherine said that what little care Melissa did give Miguel should count for something since in fact her client had given her son SOME care.

Justice Anne Molloy said:

"Let's just get the elephant out, shall we? She said the child poured water all over himself. That is not
what happened. That's not physically possible and that's as plain as the nose on your face when you
look at all of the pictures of that little boy. So, to stand there and say to me that she hid nothing, is
really stretching"

In February of 2011, Melissa Alexander, who was 25 years old at the time, was convicted of manslaughter:

"If she had acted promptly in getting treatment for Miguel, is it most likely that he would have made
a full recovery. I am fully confident that if Melissa Alexander sustained 3rd degree burns over
40% of her own body, she would have gotten herself to a hospital, and quickly. Her son deserved
no less. Any person, upon being told that his mother did not see fit to get help for this little boy,
would be horrified"

Superior Court Justice - Anne Molloy

Maria fernandes, Miguel's grandmother released balloons outside of the court room, to honor him:

"She should get 10 to 15 years, but no years are going to bring Miguel back. She is not human.
She doesn't have a heart. How can you do that to your own son"

Melissa was out on bail and was waiting to be sentenced which was set for April 19, 2011, though it would not take place until October.
Before her sentencing, Melissa sent a note to the judge saying she had been overwhelmed and was sure she could take care of the wounds herself:

"To your honor I will do my time, whatever you give me and I'm just letting everyone know how
truly, I am sorry for everything that I have done, my stubbornness, carelessness and pride got my
lovely son gone from me and this I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life"

Ann Molloy didn't believe what she had written and said that it was proof that Melissa was only worried about herself and she also said that she doubted Melissa could be rehabilitated:

"Melissa Alexander shows no remorse. Her sorrow is only for she personally has lost. She remains
focused only on her own suffering and continues to see her crime, as an incident that happened
to her"

Though the judge called what Melissa had done a shocking indifference and literally horrific crime and though the Judge believed that Melissa could not be rehabilitated,  Melissa was sentenced to only 11 years for scalding her son to death:

"It is difficult to comprehend how any human being could fail to get help for that poor child. It is
impossible to fathom the depths of self interest that would permit a mother to betray her own tiny,
vulnerable utterly dependent child in his matter"

That is only part of a 23 page decision that was written by Anne Molloy. The press called it a "scathing" report, I call it
utter nonsense. If this judge was so appalled by what was done, why did this monster only receive an 11 year sentence? I don't know if deals were made, but it seems to me deals need to STOP being made. If a child is killed by child abuse, why does the killed deserve to be out in the free world, EVER?

Catherine Currie had been asking for a sentence of only 18 to 24 months. After the sentencing, Catherine said she was going to appeal the excessive sentence because it was not taken into account that what happened to Miguel was only an accident and that Melissa had tried to help Miguel herself:

"That really is part of the downfall. Part of the whole problem is she thought she
could manage
things herself"

Catherine, you can't POSSIBLY believe that! I never cease to be amazed at how these people who go to school and
get their degrees to become lawyers, can be so STUPID! When doctors are telling you what happened, having a law
degree doesn't mean you know better than them what REALLY happened.

When Miguel was born, his parents were young and it was immediately apparent that his parents were not going to take care of him. CCAS took him away and would make the fatal mistake of giving him back to his parents about six months later. CCAS returned this baby to a home that was infested with cockroaches and to parents who didn't want him and in fact, Sergio had never even told his parents that he was going to have a child. When he was born, Melissa told the nurse that she did not want her son and that is why CCAS had taken him away. It would be reported by Mary McConville, a CCAS Executive Director, that CCAS was involved with this family from his birth, up until Miguel died. Mary McConville said that  the work involved in cases such as these, involved determinations into if the child is going to be safe in the home environment and if regular supervision, in the form of home visits, will be needed in order to protect children. Apparently, a woman saying she didn't want her child and living in a bad conditions, doesn't mean the child won't be safe. Mary McConville admitted that when a child dies, there were mistakes made in protecting him:

"Obviously, it was a serious case"



Death occurred in Canada

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