Horrific abuse of son sickens Victoria mother (external - login to view)
A Victoria mother is trying to understand why her son was dumped at a Regina hospital last month — beaten, stabbed and burned — with injuries so horrific, she can describe it only as torture.
When Dustin LaFortune, a burly 26-year-old Winnipeg man, was left at the hospital by a man who falsely claimed to be his cousin on April 16, he had wasted away to 90 pounds.
He was put on life support in the ER and the doctors told his mother, Renee LaFortune, that he might not live.
“His tongue was cut off, his bottom lip was cut off, his face was smashed in. He had broken ribs, an assortment of burn marks and stabs,” she said, adding that when she went to see him, she could barely recognize the frail and broken person lying in the hospital bed. “It's something worse than a horror movie. You can’t look at him.”
Nurses told Renee LaFortune that some of the wounds were old and some so fresh that emergency-room physicians didn’t see them until the bruises emerged after he’d been dropped off. “They said this occurred over a long, long period of time.”
Worst of all, he showed evidence of possible brain damage, struggling to follow conversations and being unable to speak. The extent of his brain injuries, if any, are not yet known.
Renee LaFortune said it likely will be months before her once hard-working and reliable son is released from the hospital.
“Everything that he was is gone, he has to start over,” she said.
Living in Calgary while working for a moving company, LaFortune was last heard from in February.
Renee LaFortune said the alarm bells went off when phone calls and e-mails to LaFortune from friends and family members went unanswered. The phone numbers for the Calgary company he worked for were disconnected.
In 2008, LaFortune had moved from Winnipeg to Calgary to work for a moving company owned by an acquaintance, who is also from Winnipeg; the two reportedly became roommates. For a time, all seemed well on the outside, although LaFortune’s ex-girlfriend said she witnessed disturbing and controlling behaviour from the roommate.
“[Dustin] was telling me how he was only allowed to eat one meal a day [by the roommate],” said Lindsay Airhart, who visited the pair in Calgary.
By September 2009, LaFortune had already lost considerable weight when he was taken to a Calgary hospital with broken ribs. He said that a freezer had fallen onto him, but the family now doubts that story.
In late February of this year, Renee LaFortune filed a missing person’s report with the Calgary police.
About a week later, Airhart said, LaFortune called her father. “He sounded like death,” she added.
On April 14, LaFortune’s roommate texted Airhart to say that LaFortune was fine but couldn’t talk because he was on a farm in Leduc, Alta., without a phone.
The roommate mentioned the pair’s money problems and said he was “working on” getting LaFortune to call his family.
Just two days later, LaFortune was dumped at that Regina hospital, wasted and injured beyond recognition.
LaFortune was finally able to muster the strength to make a statement to police Friday morning, his mother said.
She said he told police that his former roommate had caused his injuries during assaults in Calgary and Saskatchewan.
On Friday evening, Regina police spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich confirmed that the police are investigating the case as an aggravated assault.
LaFortune’s mother said she won’t be satisfied until police arrest the person responsible.
“I didn’t even know someone was capable of doing that.”
I mean someone breaking my ribs in a fight whom I call a room mate would have been the first and last action taken before I called the cops and moved the hell out of that situation..... and the limited eating? Cutting of his tongue? His bottom lip?
WTF kind of freak did he shack up with?