Fulton Family Letter Condems Inaction of BC Mental Health System

The family of a 12-year-old autistic boy killed one year ago when his bipolar neighbour stabbed him in the neck with a kitchen knife spoke out this week, questioning the “common sense” of B.C.’s mental health system.

Kimberly Noyes, 43, was found last week to be not criminally responsible in the slaying of John Fulton at her Grand Forks, B.C., home in August 2009.

The following is the complete text of the Fulton family’s letter:

To begin, our family would like to thank the community of Grand Forks, Const. Bell and our victim service worker Catherine Riddle for their overwhelming support and kindness. Words cannot express the loss our family has suffered, nor the horror of having to do it in such a public way.

We have heard repeatedly that the mental health system has let Ms. Noyes down. We feel it wasn’t Noyes that was let down by the system but rather our family and John.

From testimony given over the last few weeks it is quite clear that Noyes was a threat to the community and a danger to children. Any layman can see that there was a clear history of violence and homicidal delusions, yet she was released back into the community over and over again.

If this woman was a pedophile she would not have allowed her near children. Even though she was clearly a threat to children she was allowed back into a low income family unit without giving any warning to the families that lived there.

This woman knew she was ill. The local RCMP, mental health workers, psychiatrists, her doctor, and her family knew she was ill; and despite her clearly disturbing behaviour the months before John’s death, no one thought to hospitalize her. Where was the common sense? After multiple forced hospitalizations, a history of violence, a history of going off medications, threats uttered about harming children . . . no one in authority could see a downhill spiral leading to her acting out on her delusions.

Our family is not suggesting that people who struggle with mental illness should be locked away from society. We have dear friends who have struggled with depression and mental illness, however, when someone is uttering threats about sacrificing children or making homicidal comments we believe that the government, namely mental health should be charged with protecting the rights of the general public rather than those of the individual. We would go as far as to say that people who have had these types of delusions would rather be hospitalized than to hurt a child.

The loss of this beautiful child has been devastating to our family. The way in which he was taken from us was unimaginable. The pain we feel will take years to lessen, but will never be fully gone.

This senseless crime was completely avoidable. Noyes’ actions were completely deplorable but mental health’s inactions are equally so.

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