‘Everybody deserves life’: Neilson Catcheway’s family remembers a loving son

A makeshift collage of childhood photos lines one of the walls in Neilson Catcheway’s room while rows and rows of VHS tapes and DVDs lines another.

The scene is one of comfort for Martha Catcheway.

This is where she goes to remember her son.

“He would collect movies. All kinds of movies since he was about 12 years old,” Martha told APTN News from her home in Winnipeg.

“We would go walking together, go for a ride, go for something to eat and go places like thrift shopping.”

The 40 year old lived with his mother most of his life.

The two had an unbreakable bond.

That changed one fatal day in October.

“I heard a knock on the door and then I was so happy I went running from the kitchen to the door. I said, ‘he’s home now,’ and then to my surprise there were two policeman standing there,” said Martha.

Neilson Catcheway

(Neilson Catcheway in an undated photo supplied by the family)

Catcheway’s body was found on Main St. in Winnipeg’s North End around midnight on Oct. 16.

Police say he was assaulted during a robbery. Shortly after, in a separate incident, he was struck by someone driving a vehicle. Police were called to the scene where officers performed CPR until paramedics arrived. He was transported to hospital where he later died.

April Catcheway remembers her brother as someone who was loved for his giving manner.

“Everybody deserves life and I feel that there was a very special life that was taken from many people, not only myself but other family members even the community because Neilson used to help street walkers and stuff like that,” said April.

“He wasn’t a violent person.”

Catcheway was a spiritual man. He attended the same Winnipeg church for 25 years.

The last time April saw her brother he imparted some words of wisdom on her.

“He left me a little card that said, ‘put your anxiety onto Christ,’” April recalled. “That’s what he left me so I have it hanging up on my wall now.”

Two youths – a 13-year old boy and 14 year-old boy – have been charged with manslaughter. They will appear in court on Dec. 20.

They can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Police are still looking to speak with the driver of the vehicle.

This is not the first tragedy for the family.

Catcheway’s grandmother, Marie Catcheway, was found on a street also in the North End more than 30 years ago.

Media at the time reported she was found badly beaten about four blocks from her home.

She was 56 at the time of her death.

“She loved her grandchildren, she loved everybody she met. She had a very caring heart. How could somebody do that to her, leave her there,” Martha said about her mother.

Police arrested one of Marie Catcheway’s daughters and charged her with second-degree murder. The crown later dropped the charges citing a lack of evidence.

Her death remains unsolved.

April was an infant at the time.

“I wish I could have had the opportunity to know my grandmother… sometimes I feel like I was put on this Earth to maybe try and fight for her case,” she said.

The family is preparing to spend their first Christmas without Catcheway.

Signs honouring their son and brother stand where a tree is normally placed. Next week they will hold a vigil at the spot where he was found.

But for now, Martha is leaning on the same faith that guided her son’s life.

 

Reporter / Winnipeg

Brittany joined the APTN news team in October 2016. She is Ojibway and a member of the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba. Before coming to APTN, she graduated with a joint degree in communications from the University of Winnipeg and Red River College.