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Band members say they never saw girl who died

WINNIPEG - An inquiry into the death of a young Manitoba girl is hearing from people on the Fisher River reserve who say they never saw her.

The inquiry is examining how child welfare failed to protect Phoenix Sinclair, who was beaten to death by her mother and the mother's boyfriend in June 2005.

Angela Murdoch testified she rented a house to Karl McKay, never asked whether he had any kids in the home and was kept outside during her one visit.

Also testifying was Shirley Cochrane, who administered welfare on the reserve.

Cochrane said the band issued welfare cheques to McKay between May and November of 2005 with Phoenix still listed as a dependent.

Phoenix had in fact been dead for months by the time the last cheque was issued; her death would go unnoticed until the following spring.

Cochrane said it is normal practice for welfare workers to see all children when a family applies for benefits.

She could not remember whether that was done in this case, and the worker who dealt directly with the family has since died.

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