Jeffrey's parents apologize

Thu, April 13, 2006


In their first public statement about their son's horrific death, Jeffrey Baldwin's biological parents apologized for failing the boy in a television interview aired last night.

"We both failed," said Yvonne Kidman, Jeffrey's biological mother, in an interview on CBC's The Fifth Estate.

"I live with that guilt every single day," Richard Baldwin said. "I want everybody to know -- I apologize. I let my son down and I let the rest of my children down."


Jeffrey was almost six years old when he starved to death in November 2002 while in the care of Kidmans' parents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman.

Yesterday, Bottineau and Kidman were in court to hear sentencing for how much time either would serve before being eligible for parole. That was postponed until May 17.

Last Friday, Bottineau, 54, and Kidman, 53, were found guilty of second-degree murder in Jeffrey's death. Both convicted child abusers from the 1970s, the pair have started serving their life sentences.

An at-times angry Kidman lashed out at her mother as the interview focused on Bottineau's successful bid to win custody of Kidman and Baldwin's four children, including Jeffrey.

Bottineau eventually won custody of all the kids after taking in Jeffrey's sister, after that child was reportedly left unattended during a fight between the young parents.

Because Bottineau received $125 from social assistance per child, Kidman couldn't help but wonder if her mother had taken the kids under her wing solely for a cash-in.

"Right now I'm pretty pissed with her," Kidman said.

"And I got a lot of questions I would like to ask her but can't do them over the phone."

Richard Baldwin said attempts to ask about the obviously malnourished children were met with strong resistance.

"I knew they were drinking from the toilet," Baldwin said. "We voiced concerns, but then all we'd get is arguments, and basically, 'If you don't like the way things look, leave!'"

The parents said they didn't go to the Catholic Children's Aid Society because they felt nobody would take their word against Bottineau's.