My roommate’s daughter was killed here in Whitehorse and the person who did it still walks free, never caught.
Angel Carlick died just before her high school graduation in May 2007. A search for the missing teen was unsuccessful until November of that year when her remains were found on a trail near Pilot Mountain.
A couple of years later I stumbled upon Wendy Carlick living a ghetto existence in a basement apartment. When she became homeless I invited her to use the spare bedroom at my place.
I didn’t know what to say to Wendy about the death of her daughter, so I said nothing. We’d sit in the living room watching Oprah on TV, making funny cracks at each daily guest.
My only thought was to keep her alive long enough for a miracle to happen. I prayed to the woman who also had her child killed, Mary the mother of Jesus. Hail Mary, full of grace…
Television was new to Wendy who could only ever afford watching someone else’s DVDs and every TV commercial – every movie reminded her of Angel’s childhood. She began describing scenes of a winter life with kids and dogs where the joy was as fleeting as tumbling snowflakes in a glass snow dome.
But as winter crushed down on us Wendy spent more time back on the streets. I learned that for the poor the streets are the social life, the recreation, the news and the entertainment. Every day she’d walk around in the cold with friends despite her congenital limp. They’d share whatever booze they had. The Lord is with Thee…
The police called me so often to tell me she was in the drunk tank that I finally asked, “Do you deliver?” They agreed to simply bring her straight home. Sometimes she lay on the floor babbling about Angel.
I couldn’t listen to this. I used my old newsroom skill of tuning out all the talk around me, and I sat stone-faced watching a good old black and white movie flicker on the screen.
One early Sunday morning Wendy shuffled in the door, black and blue.
“Can I cry now, or later?” she asked me.
“Cry now Wendy. Cry now,” I replied and sat down.
She told me she was beaten up by a woman. A woman!
Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…
Wendy wouldn’t report this to the police, insisting instead that street-justice would take care of it. What goes around comes around on the street.
In the soft lamplight I hid my expression from my battered roommate. She was sober and thinking straight. Then, for the first time, she turned directly to me and said what I dreaded most:
“Who could have killed my daughter? Who could do that kind of thing to my Angel?”
Holy Mary, Mother of God…
My mind replayed the murder trials I’d covered as a reporter. I got no satisfaction there because I wanted the accused to be the personification of evil, but the reality was more horrific. I learned that killers and torturers learn it from adults when they are children. If they add drugs and booze to that memory the results will be macabre.
I tried to suggest this to Wendy but she would have no truck with this talk. Maybe that’s because Wendy herself never became cruel despite her own childhood in residential school. She developed an immense reservoir of tolerance. Maybe too much tolerance.
It’s not for me to tell the mother of a dead child what to think or how to feel, so I shut up.
Wendy doesn’t live here anymore. She continues to use alcohol to numb the pain and wonders if the next person she meets is the one who killed her only daughter. I remain here praying for a miracle.
I am now asking the person who was with Angel at her end to come forth and be set free of the burden you carry. All sins can be forgiven by our Creator. Maybe her death was accidental. Maybe you two had a quarrel and things spun rapidly out of control.
When Jesus hung dying on the cross there were two criminals also nailed to crosses for their wrongdoings. All three men could still speak. One man admitted to Jesus he had committed crimes and asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus replied “I assure you, this day you will be with me in paradise.”
Dear killer, come to the waters of healing. Confess and be set free.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Roxanne Livingstone is a freelance writer in Whitehorse.