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Hamilton girl stalked, police reluctant to intervene

A Hamilton family has reached out to the Two Row Times in the hope that their daughter’s story could be heard. For over a month now, Danielle Heatley, 16 has been stalked, harassed and tormented by a man who allegedly suffers from schizophrenia. Three times now the accused, a homeless man with no fixed address, has approached Heatley and harassed her and she has gone to the police who have so far refused to lay charges against him.

A Hamilton family has reached out to the Two Row Times in the hope that their daughter’s story could be heard. For over a month now, Danielle Heatley, 16 has been stalked, harassed and tormented by a man who she has never met before. Three times now the accused, a homeless man with no fixed address, has approached Heatley and harassed her and she has gone to the police who have so far refused to lay charges against him.

Over a month ago, 16-year-old Danielle Heatley was lured out of Sir John A McDonald School in Hamilton by a man claiming to be friends with her father. The man, known by at least two aliases, allegedly suffers from schizophrenia. He showed up at Heatley’s school on May 28 and told her that her father had an accident and she needed to go with him. Heatley left with the man, believing her father had indeed been injured. Heatley made it home safely a few hours later once she realized the man was not well. She was able to get to a phone where she called her father who came to pick her up.

“He showed up at my school and said my dad had been hurt on the escarpment. I panicked and phoned home and there was no answer so I thought it must be true and went with him. We didn’t have bus fare so we walked from Sir John A McDonald toward Glendale Golf Course. Around 6:00 pm I start walking to a bus stop and my dad came and got me. The police took him to a psychiatric hospital where he stayed for a week,” explained Heatley.

Less then three weeks later, Heatley was walking up town in Hamilton when she noticed the same man approach her.  “That happened on June 17, the same day as my year end feast at school. He followed me up town when I was walking with my friends. He seen me go to the police officer and he disappeared,” stated Heatley who said that the officer also told her he would not arrest the man. “The officer told me that he would have to reoffend before charges could be laid.”

A few weeks ago, during the annual Solidarity Day celebrations on June 21 & 22 at Gage Park, Heatley was enjoying the day with her friends when she noticed the same man again approach her. “I went to the sacred fire and sat with firekeepers. I told them what he did and there were 15-20 men from the community who escorted him out,” stated Heatley.

Heatley has approached Lynden George, Aboriginal Justice Coordinator with Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, in an attempt to find some answers as to why police refuse to lay charges. “I help Aboriginal people in matters that are not criminal. But this is a criminal matter. There are two issues here: one is with the police and the other is with the school. I am having meetings with the police to find out why they are not pursuing charges and with the Board of Education in upcoming weeks where I will have full details and disclosure. I already talked to David on the phone with his daughter. I basically know nothing at this point but it is serious and we do know he should have never been able to walk out of the school with her. The school should have taken more responsibility,” stated George.

Heatley is all too familiar with this situation. She is currently working with a group in Hamilton to raise awareness on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. According to George, “Danielle is extremely admired and respected in the native community in Hamilton. She raises much awareness on the critical situation of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.”

Last week Heatley received a phone call from two detectives from the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) who contacted her to let her know they will be investigating the case. According to Acting Media Officer, P.C. Claus Wagner, “The report at this time is being investigated, however as you know the male is homeless and not easy to locate. The behaviour at this time has not been enough to bring criminal charges.”

But when Heatley attended the HPS – East End division to provide a statement, she was instead interrogated and told she was allegedly having a sexual relationship with the man. “Instead of being treated as the victim, I left the police station feeling like the perpetrator. Both detectives took turns questioning me. They questioned me about how I knew the man. I told them I never met the guy before in my life and it seemed like they didn’t believe me. They were very rude. Once one detective left the room, another one came in and asked all the same questions. They said there was an inconsistency in my story. Then both detectives were in the room and I had to tell them the whole story again. One detective told me he thought I was lying and he said I was probably having a sexual relationship with the man and that I was trying to keep it a secret from my dad. After he said that, I started to cry and I didn’t understand why they didn’t believe me. They said they want me to take a lie detector test now to see if I’m telling the truth or not.”

HPS Media Relations Officer, Constable Debbie McGreal-Dinning told Two Row Times in a statement, “The Hamilton Police Service continues to investigate these matters guided by the evidence that is presented and subject to any criminal charges that may be considered.  The Hamilton Police take any incident of stalking or harassment seriously and investigate matters of this nature thoroughly. Criminal charges are laid in such cases when there are reasonable grounds to do so. The investigation is not concluded at this time. Division Two Detectives continue to investigate.”

 

**UPDATE** The school that Miss Heatley attended and where a man allegedly lured her from, has been found of no wrongdoing as Heatley left on her own volition and apparently left through a side door. The school stated that if Miss Heatley had left through the main doors, she would have never been allowed to leave but the second time the man came back to her school, she left through a side door at the school and left willingly but under the assumption that her father had been seriously hurt, which the man had told her.

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  • Tamie Coleman
    July 8, 2014, 11:21 am

    Danielle, my heart goes out to you for everything you are going through. Unfortunately, your story is much too common. I had a similar experience when living in downtown Tonto. The man in question also had mental health issues. It took him sexually assaulting me before anything was done by the police (he grabbed my rear end). Even after that, the police automatically assumed that I at the very least had been in a prior relationship with him. I didn’t know the guy, so obviously no prior relationship. During the entire process I discovered that this man had a history of rape and sexual assaults against women and the police did nothing. The result in my case was that the guy plead out in order to have the sexual assault charge changed to simple assault. This effectively protected him from being listed as a sex offender in spite of the fact that he had a long history of committing these offenses against women of all ethnic backgrounds. The crown attorney at the end of the case did tell me that this was the first case where they had gotten a conviction against this man. He only spent 10 days in jail but he was ordered to stay away from me. Danielle, my advice is to use your position as a community advocate to your advantage if this ever goes to court. Lean on your friends and family for support, it is truly a difficult situation to face at any age. Keep in mind if he is doing this to you, more than likely there are other victims out there. As difficult as it may be, do not let the nay sayers bring you down, many are ignorant to the realities of living as a First Nations woman in this country. Chalk their comments up to ignorance and let it go. Finally, do know that there are many out here that care and support you in this very difficult time. All the best.

    REPLY
  • Paul McCumber
    July 7, 2014, 8:46 pm

    Why is this story showing up HERE?If you were at all intersested in catching your stalker,why not go to the Spec, or CHCH tv? I’m sure they wouldn’t ignore the fact that some guy is out there stalking young women, no matter what race they are,or do they hate you because you’re native,
    ,too?

    REPLY
    • Jason Barry@Paul McCumber
      July 7, 2014, 9:07 pm

      Paul.your a fucking ignorant prick if the police is ignoring her you think main stream.media would care. There are over 1200 missing first nation women and girls do you not think their families went to their local media and lets see the covrage they recived um zip so i thank the trt for printing this story. And yes i do belive because shes youung and native a lot less atention is paid to it

      REPLY
    • Clive Garlow@Paul McCumber
      July 8, 2014, 11:56 am

      The Spec or CHCH? You’ve just GOT to be kidding! This sicko has stalked Danielle THREE times and has actually lured from her school under false pretenses and STILL nothing in the paper (as far as I know because I boycott the Spec & CHCH). Both these media outlets, along with that rag the Toronto Sun, put out such a vast amount of MIS-information to their readers/viewers during the Caledonia affair, I could never, in good conscience, ever read or watch them again….ever!

      To the HPS Median Relations Officer, Constable Debbie McGreal-Dinning, I have this to say: exactly what will it take to act on this potentially tragic issue? Will finding Danielle dead in a ditch do it for you?
      I have no reason to doubt Danielle’s version in the article of what transpired during the police interrogation. She’s the daughter of a great friend to Six Nations during the Red Hill Valley fiasco, David Heatley. Dave, Danielle, keep up the pressure on HPS because I know in that organization, there are some really good cops of rank who just might see and understand the potential for tragedy in your dilemma. I call upon one in particular whom I believe to a be man of honour. He knows who he is. Act…..NOW! Before it’s too late!

      REPLY
  • Danielle Heatley
    July 7, 2014, 4:59 pm

    This is about me. This man has been making my life living hell and the hamilton police are doing NOTHING. I went and got practically interrogated by 2 detectives for 2 hours and then I was told there was an inconsistency with my story. It was because I said I skipped school. What would you call it when you leave school without your parents permission. After they said that I was very rudely told that I was lying to the HPS and my parents and that I was having a sexual relationship with this 41 year old black man. All I want is to bring justice to this matter. My father was blatantly told there was nothing they could do because we were native. If this man has enough in him to come to my highschool and take me out of school for hours what is stopping him from taking a little kid who cant do anything about it.

    REPLY
    • SMartin upp@Danielle Heatley
      July 8, 2014, 11:40 am

      Bear mace pepper spray please protect yourself. You seem smart often the police do nothing.i have had an aunt murdered as well as two cousins.police can only do so much.if possible indentify this man and continue to speak out.

      REPLY
    • Clive Garlow@Danielle Heatley
      July 8, 2014, 12:13 pm

      Wayne Mousseau has a good point Danielle. Do you have a smart-phone? A digital camera? Carry them with you at all times and if this sicko comes anywhere near you again, take his pic and post it on whatever social media you have access to. If the HPS is impotent, do whatever you have to do to protect and help yourself.

      REPLY
  • Wayne Mousseau
    July 6, 2014, 1:19 pm

    post a picture on the only in Hamilton facebook group if possible

    REPLY
  • tsinoktiio
    July 5, 2014, 11:05 pm

    you know why nothing is being done? cause she’s Native. if she were a white girl he’d already be in jail, pure and simple case of racism, and people wonder why white men cannot be trusted to do the right thing, I just said it. damn shame.

    REPLY

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