Phoenix was born in Canada to
parents Steve Sinclaire and Samantha Kematch, it was her father who
her the beautiful name she was given. Unfortunately, both of these two
people had been involved with Child And Family Services in the past
with Steve having a child who had become a permanent ward of the state.
Phoenix was taken away and placed at first in a temporary shelter and
eventually with a foster family when her parents were found to be unfit
to care for her, though her parents were given visitations with her.
In September of 2000, Phoenix was reunited her parents and conditions
were placed on them keeping her, they would have to take classes on how
to raise children and they would be closely supervised by CFS. In April
of 2001, a sister was born, Echo joined the family and CFS did an
assessment with no changes being made in the custody of the children.
In June, police were at the home on a call of domestic violence and the
parents separated in July of 2001. Steve was the main caregiver for the
children, sadly, on July 14, 2001, Echo died of a respiratory infection.
During the summer of 2001, the case of Phoenix had been with referred
to CPS several time. Steve was known to them as the main caregiver of
Phoenix though it was reported that she spent most of her time at the
home of a family friend by the name of Kim Edwards. CFS closed their
file on Phoenix in the early months of 2002. In February of 2003,
another file was opened when it was reported by medical professionals
that Phoenix was being neglected after she ended up in the hospital.
Phoenix had a piece of styrofoam stuck in her nose and it had been
there for about four months, the staff at the hospital was concerned
about this along with not being sure if Steve was going to get her much
needed antibiotics that she would need to get rid of the infection
caused by the styrofoam. In June of 2003, CFS removed Phoenix from
Steve's care and placed her on a temporary basis with Kim Edwards that
Samantha Kematch went to take her daughter for visit in April of 2004,
the visit was supposed to be a temporary one. Karen had become involved
with a man named Karl "Wes" McKay about the same time and for whatever
reason, Phoenix went to live with time with them. Steve left the are
and Phoenix was registered at a nursery school that same Fall, though
the staff reported that they never saw her or Karl.
In November of 2004, a new file was opened after another baby was born
to Samantha, this time with Karl. In March of 2005 the calls started
coming in about the abuse of the children, the case was closed. Karl
and Samantha took the children and moved to another area in April of
2005, the children included a 12 year old boy who was Karl's son from a
prior relationship and his second son, who was 14 years old, lived with
them off and on.
Phoenix was made to sleep in a cold basement, she was forced to eat her
own vomit and was given very little food. Karl shot Phoenix with
a BB gun and played a game he called "choking the chicken", in which he
would choke her until she passed out. In May of 2005 another call came
in reporting neglect of the children in the home, it seems that CFS
didn't take things seriously because on June 11, 2005, Phoenix died. On
the day she died, Phoenix was abused by Samantha and Karl, both
verbally and physically. Karl's 12 year old son testified that on the
day she died, Phoenix had been beaten by Karl for over 15 minutes while
Samantha watched and when they finally left the house, Phoenix was not
In July of 2005, both of Karl's sons were removed from the home by CFS
and returned to their mothers. Karl and Samantha also moved during that
time and had a second child in December. By this time, Phoenix was no
longer in the home and people would ask where she was only to be told
that she had gone to live with either her father or another family
member. Karl and Samantha were arrested for trying to say that another
child was Phoenix and on March 18 2006, the body of Phoenix was found
in a landfill.
In December of 2008, Karl McKay and Samantha Kematch were found guilty
of first degree murder and in an interview, Samantha told reporters the
"I failed her. She
never deserved any of this to happen to her. You guys can sit there
say I have no feelings. Well, everyone shows their emotions in
different ways. Not
cries. I'm one to hold in their tears. I'm not the type to freak out. I
But I hurt inside"
Karl and Samantha were given
25 years to life and it was expected they would appeal their sentences.
Samantha wanted the opportunity to explain her comment in court that
people would never know the truth about what happened and how Karl had
wrongly accused her in order to not go down on the charges, alone:
"I didn't kill my
daughter, I didn't do these things to her like everyone says I did.
do? I loved her"
Samantha had said in court that she knew she wasn't the best mother,
but she was no in a position to stop what Karl had done to Phoenix, of
course Samantha also said that she was a victim of Karl's anger:
"I tried to stop it.
That's where I failed her. I failed myself. But I tried to stop
from doing things to her. I would even take a beating so she wouldn't
Karl said that Samantha had treated Phoenix like an animal:
"She really disliked
the girl from since I met her"
Karl said that he would at times spank Phoenix on her bottom, but
denied that he abused her in any way saying that Samantha had refused
to allow her to eat, yelled at her, forced her to live in the basement
and abused her. Karl admitted that when the found Phoenix was dead,
they took her to the basement, wrapped her in plastic, taped it shut
and wrapped her in a yellow rain coat before they drove her to the land
fill and buried her in a shallow grave. When they got home, Samantha
was insistent that they remove all traces of Phoenix from the home and
she even wanted to go back to her grave, dig her up and cut off her
head so she could not be identified. Karl said she told him to scrub
the basement with bleach to remove any traces of blood or other DNA and
he later ended up painting the floor.
Samantha said that Karl was lying:
"I get so frustrated.
He's only trying to make himself look good. I loved Phoenix
cared for Phoenix. He's just sitting there denying he did anything"
Jurors had heard about Karl's violent past, beating the mother of his
sons who had been the ones to go to the Police telling what they had
witnessed in reference to the abuse Phoenix was going through. The boys
had testified in court that both Karl and Samantha had been abusing