Toronto woman hit and killed by train haunted by miscarriage

By Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
A demon followed Terra Gardner.

A whisper in the ear to remind her.

It was her dark passenger.

It wasn’t the drinking.

But it drove her to drink.

The 27-year-old First Nations woman was haunted by the memory of losing twins in term up until her untimely death last Tuesday in Toronto.

“It devastated her,” said Gardner’s mother Gin Gardner. “That’s why she drank.”

Gardner, 18 at the time, had a miscarriage during the first trimester. It spun her out of control and eventually spat her out on to the streets of Toronto that she’d call home, on and off, for the last several years.

She died there when a freight train hit and killed her.

Police said they don’t expect foul play.

Gin Gardner said she’s been told the investigation is ongoing and police are leaning towards either a death by misadventure or suicide.

But others have questioned the timing of the death because Gardner was a Crown witness in an upcoming murder trial and had been receiving death threats.

She was called a rat and, on the streets, it’s the last thing a person wants to be labeled. That alone can be a death sentence.

Gardner had already testified in April at the preliminary trial of Blake Paul, who is charged with second-degree murder of Leo Buswa in 2010.

“She had called one night and said she had to testify and I said what do you mean testify? She said ‘I’m involved in this murder trial. I don’t want to talk but police said I have to talk and people are calling me a rat,'” Gin Gardner recalled. “I can only say she was scared (but) nobody took her seriously.”

Because she was known to drink on the street, Gardner was worried for her safety and ability to defend herself in case people making the death threats followed through said Gin Gardner.

It was one of many calls Gardner would make to her mom over the years looking for guidance.

“She would call home with problems and we’d try our best to solve them,” she said, adding she tried to in vain to get Gardner into Alcoholics Anonymous. “We’ve been doing nothing but being there for her.”

Originally from Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, located 40 km east of Fort Frances, Ont., Gardner lived with family members on a different First Nation from three to 11-years-old when Gin Gardnier got her back.

While away from her mother, Gardner suffered abuse at the hands of family members.

There was a lot of healing during Gardner’s adolescent and teenage years.

Losing her children destroyed any progress she may have made.

“Terra was on a healing journey and we alongside her. She was finding her way and place in the world,” said her mom who still lives on Nigigoonsiminikaaning. “We thought we had all the time in the world.”

In a 2011 interview, Gardner described being homeless and not drinking until she had a “bad experience.”

“So I started drinking like really bad,” she said.

Gin Gardner said at the time she was also suicidal.

Recently she made Gardner a crazy quilt but she didn’t like the colours.

”She said ‘it’s really pretty, but I don’t like it. No offence,'” said Gin Gardner with a laugh.

She was in the process of making her a purple quilt.

She had planned to give it to Gardner at Christmas.

Now, when she’s done she plans to bury it.

[email protected]

Twitter: @afixedaddress

Contribute Button