Scalded toddler would ‘scream, scream, scream’ days before he died from untreated burns, court told

must have been wondering where in the world she’d landed.

It was Sunday night of the Victoria Day weekend in 2014 and the St. John’s, N.L., senior was visiting with her sister, Bessie Lagerwerf, and her husband in Parkhill.

In came Lagerwerf’s granddaughter Amanda Dumont with her boyfriend Scott Bakker and three of her four kids, including a “little boy” who promptly threw up in the hallway and wouldn’t stop screaming while getting a bath.

HandoutRyker Daponte-Michaud

“I heard the little man scream, scream, scream,” Ford testified at the Superior Court jury trial of Dumont, 30, and Bakker, 27, who have pleaded not guilty to a joint charge of causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life to 20-month-old Ryker Daponte-Michaud.

Ryker, who was badly burned by a cup of scalding hot coffee sometime during that long weekend, died May 21, 2014, three days after the impromptu visit to Lagerwerf’s. He suffered second- and third-degree burns from his waist almost to his knees, covering his genitalia, buttocks thighs and part of his back.

Ford, a charming, grandmotherly type with a distinct Newfoundland accent, was testifying through closed-circuit link from the St. John’s courthouse.

She said she had never met Dumont before and speak to Bakker while they stayed overnight. But, she said, what she saw and heard broke her heart.

Dumont had called her earlier that evening and said she and the family were coming up for a visit. The jury has heard Dumont told Lagerwerf that the baby had been burned.

I was up about that little child

Shortly after the family arrived, Dumont took Ryker into the bathroom for a bath. Ford explained she has a bad hip and kept walked back and forth from where she was sleeping, past the bathroom door to ease her pain.

When Ford heard Ryker scream, she said she assumed it was because he was afraid of the water. Her sister was in the bathroom helping Dumont, who was standing in the tub with Ryker, in a long t-shirt, holding on to Dumont’s legs.

“I said, ‘My God, Bessie, that boy is screaming.’ My sister said he’s been ,” she said under questions from assistant Crown attorney Elizabeth Maguire.

But it wasn’t any of her business in interfere, Ford concluded. After Dumont, Bakker, Ryker and the other children went to sleep in the basement, the hubbub disturbed her so much she couldn’t sleep. “I was up all night about that little child,” she said.

SUPPLIED PHOTOAmanda Dumont, 30, charged with criminal negligence causing death in the 2014 death of Ryker Daponte-Michaud.

Of Ryker, Ford said, “He was such a little boy, little face and big blue eyes. Oh my goodness, he was .”

In the morning, when he was placed in a chair he screamed because it hurt his back. The little time she saw him walk, he was crying. “He was walking so stiff and my heart was broke. But anyway there was nothing I could say or do.”

Ford said she never saw Ryker get changed, eat or drink. But she said, “He was so sick-looking. He wasn’t talking, he was screaming all the time.”

Ford said she was going to have a cigarette when she overheard her sister say, “Amanda, take that child to the clinic.”

She believed it was Dumont, Lagerwerf “and that young man” in the conversation. She heard her sister tell them several times to take the baby for medical treatment.

Ford said Dumont was “hostile” with her grandmother, like she didn’t have to be told what to do.

She said Ryker was put in his car seat and Dumont and Bakker left with him, leaving the other children, two girls, with Lagerwerf for the afternoon.

Later, Ford went with Lagerwerf to drop off the girls. Dumont pulled up at the same time they arrived at the Strathroy townhouse. She saw someone carry Ryker into the house and that was the last time she saw him “till I saw him in his casket.”

SUPPLIED PHOTOScott Bakker, 26, charged with criminal negligence causing death in the 2014 death of Ryker Daponte-Michaud.

Ford stayed in the car with her brother-in-law. Then they returned to Parkhill.

Two days later, Lagerwerf got a phone call and Ford said she assumed it was about the baby. She asked her sister how he was and was told Ryker was dead.

“I said, ‘Oh my gee, he died of shock.’ ”

She and Lagerwerf drove to Dumont’s house, but “there were a lot of policemen there and Bessie wasn’t allowed to go in.”

In cross-examination, Ford said at the house, Dumont was yelling at Lagerwerf, telling her to leave.

The police officers gave them the address of another home — the jury has heard it was Bakker’s mother’s residence — and “a police officer was in driveway and my sister wasn’t allowed to go in there.”

The jury also heard from Robert , a family support worker with Middlesex County Ontario Works. He had made an impromptu visit to Dumont’s townhouse the day before Ryker died to have papers signed for the Family Responsibility Office, should any child support ever be paid to her.

Brooks said Dumont was outside when he pulled up. The front inside door was open and she went inside quickly, came out and shut it.

Under her agreement with Ontario Works made at the end of April 2014, Dumont had to declare who was living at the townhouse. Brooks’ information was it was Dumont and her four kids.

A man Dumont identified as her brother was changing the tires on her car because they had been slashed during the night.

“She seemed a bit anxious, upset about the tires, upset about the situation around her vehicle,” he said.

Dumont didn’t mention Ryker.

The trial shifted back to Lagerwerf, who is in cross-­examination by Dumont’s lawyer Ken Marley.

Her testimony was interrupted because of her sister’s scheduled testimony from Newfoundland.

Lagerwerf, who had been a nurse, agreed that her relationship with Dumont was close, but Dumont changed at Christmas 2013 shortly after she started dating Bakker, who Lagerwerf agreed was demanding and controlling.

She said the night the family came to her house, Dumont told her grandmother that “Scott was changing the baby and there was a hot cup of coffee there and it spilled.” Dumont wasn’t there.

In the bathroom, while Dumont bathed Ryker, Lagerwerf said she did see half of Ryker’s buttocks, his legs and feet and the skin was all the same colour.

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