Gilbert T. Bonneau
December 19, 1944 - November 28, 1953
Find A Grave Memorial

The family of Gilbert T. Bonneau has never given up hope of finding out exactly what happened to cause the death of their loved one. Believing that a man was not going to be able to take care of his children after his wife, Joyce baker, suddenly became ill and was hospitalized Mr. Bonneau was forced to make a decision about where his children would live. Three brothers, Daniel, Michael and Gilbert were sent to live in a place called "St. Colman's Home", Patrick went to live with a family friend and William stayed with his father. This was in 1947 and his siblings would never be together again, as children.

In 1953, Daniel and Michael, having left St. Colman's by that time, would visit their brother, Gilbert in the hospital after their father was called and told that he was sick and was in the infirmary and when his conditioned had become worse, he was taken to the hospital in Albany. William remembered that day seeing his brother in a coma with tubes coming out of his mouth and nose. Gilbert's head was wrapped in bandage and he and Michael both remember seeing blood on that bandage.

Gilbert died and Doctors told Mr. Bonneau that Gilbert died of natural causes and he accepted their word and he was said to have been heartbroken from that day on and never spoke to anyone about Gilbert's death. Gilbert's mother was not told of his death because it was thought that it might cause her more problems.

Gilbert was never forgotten by his siblings who thought about him all the time and missed him terribly. It was hard for them to realized that their brother, the youngest boy and most helpless of them all , had been alone in that cold place, though they knew there had been nothing could do about it at the time.

Life continued on normally for the family until about 20 years later, in 1978,  when a phone call would turn their world upside down. A woman, saying her name was Marion Maynard, called and said that she had lived at St. Colman's when Gilbert was there. Marion said that she was a witness to the abuse Gilbert had suffered at the hands of a Nun, Sister Regina, who had threatened anyone who thought they wanted to tell about what she had done, with severe punishment. Marion told of how Gilbert had been hit on the head several times with something like a stick or a piece of wood and that he had died the next day.

Gilbert's family has been told they should let go of the past. I agree with them when they ask:

"I ask you. If this child were your brother, or sister, or perhaps even your son or daughter, would
you be able to let it go so easily"
William Bonneau

William said that over the years the family had read many statements claiming there was no foul play in the death of their brother adding that all they have left of their brother is one picture and questions needing to be answered:

"My brother's life needs to be accounted for"
William Bonneau

Ernie Bonneau was 62 years old when he was fighting for his own life, but saying that his battle with Cancer was not the "fight of his life", Ernie said that the veil of silence about the death of his brother was the real fight. In October of 2005, Ernie gave an interview to Michele Morgan Bolton of the Albany Times Union, in Albany, New York. Ernie showed her the only picture there was of Gilbert as tears fell from his eyes.

Ernie told Michele how he and his family are of the belief that one of the Sisters Of The Presentation Of The Virgin Mary had caused their brothers death by hitting him on the head several times with a broom handle so he would stop crying. Even with medical documents dating back 52 years at the time, Ernie said they all felt the papers had been altered to hide the crime of this nun.

Since 1995, the brothers of Gilbert had spent a combined total of about $30,000. in an effort to prove that their brother did not die of natural causes and was in fact murdered. The brothers started a web site called: Justice For Gilbert. On the page they tell his story and a fund has been set up to help with the legal costs involved in their quest to get justice for their baby brother who would have been 60 years old by that time. Gilbert was buried in Potter's Field where his brothers had bought a small head stone saying simply "Brother" and then the dates of birth and death, in plot number 353 where the brothers visit as often as they can.

In the 1995, Ernie started taking out newspaper ads to try to find anyone who might have some information about what had happened to Gilbert. The ads started an emotional public debate and former St. Colman's residents were unhappy about the allegations that any Nun would have murdered a child there, saying that home had been a happy place. Some of the Nuns were interviewed and of course denied that the allegations were anything other then lies.

Some people who had lived there in the past came forward to say that St. Colman's was Hell on Earth and they told about the abuse they had suffered while residing there, saying their stories were held in a Police file. A Lawyer who represented St. Colman's, Al Sabo, said that the complaints against the Nuns were just made up by people with problems and that the Nuns had been interviewed by Police and told them that allegations of abuse were lies. Seriously, Al, did you expect them to say any different?

Daniel and Michael shared their own memories St. Colman's:

"It was a terrible place. I'd take the bus down from Albany to visit and when I left, my brothers
would cry"
William - 68 years old

As a child, William was the one who tried to hold his family together and was now helping in trying to get justice for his brother:

"It isn't right. We need answers"

Ernie has trouble talking about St. Colman's at all, he simply cried and said:

"No one deserves that"

In 1997, Gilbert's remains had been exhumed in an attempt to perform tests that might prove he had been murdered. Unfortunately, the tests came back inconclusive since his small coffin had been submerged in water for so long and his body had badly decomposed.

In 2001, a man who had lived in St. Colman's as a child came forward. Bob Vonzurlined, who lived in Florida, said that he had been witness to a Nun smothering Gilbert, while he screamed in the infirmary. Bob said he had been sick and was sent to the infirmary that night. Police Detective Michael Ruede wanted to reopen the murder investigation so that the allegations from Bob could be checked out, that was in December of 2001. In a memo labeled "St. Colman's follow- up 95-211971, Michael had written that he and Sgt. Ray Milham had spoken about the case with the District Attorney at that time, Paul Clyne on December 27, 2001:

"We were looking for a subpoena for records of Mr. Vonzurlined while he was at St. Colman's

Sadly, the memo states that the DA wanted to check out the files further and didn't want to get involved in the case. Later, Chief District Attorney Mike McDermott said that his office had done everything they could do in order to explore the complaints.

The Bonneau brothers do not agree that all had been that could be done and they will never give up their fight for justice for the baby brother, Gilbert. Sadly, Ernie died before he was able to see justice done for his brother. Ernie and Gilbert are now reunited in Heaven.

You can click here to find the closest thing I was able to find as an obituary for Gilbert:  Gilbert T. Bonneau

If you visit the page set up here: http://gilbert151.tripod.com/Gilbert_Bonnea.html, you can see documents that clearly contradict each other as for a time and cause of death for Gilbert. There are two death certificates and other documentation there.

Death occurred in the state of New York
This page was created on July 10, 2014

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