Gail Fawcett’s quest for her long-lost son did not end with her tragic death on July 21, 2015, at the hands of her common-law partner.
Her sister, Sheila Fawcett-Yendall, believes she was guided by her sister’s spirit to find the boy, who was reunited with the family in December during a particularly gruelling time in the trial of her sister’s killer.
Members of her close-knit family gave statements in court Tuesday describing the pain they have endured since Fawcett was killed by her partner of nine years, Gino Langevin.
Originally charged with first-degree murder, Langevin pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He stabbed Fawcett, 54, in a “cocaine-induced psychotic episode” in the middle of their Carlington street as she pleaded for her life.
Wallace Fawcett told court he is haunted by the fact his daughter’s life was taken “in such a violent manner, by a man that was to love and protect her.”
The elder Fawcett raised Gail, one of eight children “in a drug- and alcohol-free home (in Sarnia). How did this come to happen that she be taken by the same things I fought so hard for my child not to have to endure, only to come back to her in this way?”
Son Fawcett, one of her three sons, said his mother was “trying to help this man get off drugs. She died so he could live,” he said, as Langevin sat, head bowed, quietly weeping.
Fawcett-Yendall, in a statement read by Fawcett’s nephew Jason Yendall, said she believes her sister is watching over her six grandchildren “but she won’t be able to bond with them or love them like a grandmother would.”
The story of the years-long search for Fawcett’s son was the one her sister would want told, Fawcett-Yendall said outside court.
“When she was young, her child Arnold was placed for adoption. This left an emptiness in her heart that never went away … She searched and searched for him, to no avail.”
After her sister’s death, Fawcett-Yendall said, she prayed for “Gail in the spirit world to show me the way to find Arnold, so that I may complete her circle. I prayed for this constantly.”
Two days after enduring a court hearing detailing the “horrific” details of her sister’s death, Fawcett-Yendall suffered a heart attack, which she told court was from the stress and pain of her sister’s death.
Shortly after, at a First Nations Winter Gathering dinner at Ottawa City Hall, she saw a man who so resembled Fawcett’s son Jerimiah she approached him to say hello, only to realize it wasn’t him. She asked if his name was Arnold, but he said no.
“I was going to walk away, but something edged me on to ask more questions. I asked, ‘Were you adopted from Sarnia, Ontario?’ Well, the look on his face changed as if he had seen a ghost.
“I knew right there, this was my sister Gail’s lost child that we searched for, for so many years … I was shocked to learn all this time that he was living in close proximity to her for many years.”