Teagan Batstone (June 27, 2006 – December 10, 2014) was found dead in the trunk of her mother’s car on December 10, 2014, in Surrey, BC. Teagan’s biological mother, Lisa Batstone, was convicted of 2nd murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison before being eligible for parole. The defence filed an appeal which is currently under review seven years later.
Teagan was a bright, happy, loving girl who attended Grade 3 at Rosemary Heights Elementary School in South Surrey, BC prior to being killed. She loved running, gymnastics, tennis, and animals, but Teagan loved nothing more than her two brothers (8 and 3 years old at the time) who lived in Ottawa. At the time of her death, Teagan was in the primary custody of her biological mother but she spent tons of time with her Dad in Vancouver and at her other family home in Ottawa, Ontario. She stayed in Ottawa during much of the summer, March break and Christmas and the entire family travelled to Vancouver each spring for “Teagan presents Vancouver” which allowed her brothers to visit her school and for her to share her favourite parks, stores, restaurants etc. Only 8 years old at the time of her death, this senseless act of violence could and should have been prevented.
There were many warning signs that could have been acted upon to save Teagan. Most notable was the 2012 suicide attempt of Teagan’s mother who was subsequently hospitalized for evaluation and treatment. During this time, Teagan was placed in her father’s care to live in Ottawa where she attended school and loved life with her dad, young brothers and step-mom. Unfortunately, only a couple of months into this stable situation, Madam Justice Wedge of the BC Supreme Court ordered Teagan back to her biological mother’s custody, despite the obvious risk basing her judgement heavily on opinion evidence while not taking any steps to evaluate the safest home environment for Teagan.
There are many aspects that contributed to this outcome, but the most significant included: a lack of in-depth expert analysis, professional indifference, no site visits, uncoordinated services, untested affidavits, and a focus on parental rights instead of the rights of the child. It is an abdication of our community responsibility to our children to simply place them in a home with significant risk and wait for abuse to happen before taking action. Teagan’s Voice was created to advocate for legislative changes and changes to the application of existing laws to protect other children from the same tragic fate as Teagan.