Members of the First Nation Indigenous Warriors look at posters of Hunter Haze Straight-Smith, the three-year-old who was allegedly stabbed by his mother’s boyfriend and taken off life support today, at a vigil outside Winnipeg’s Childrens Hospital, Friday, November 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Three-year-old boy stabbed in Winnipeg to be taken off life support

WINNIPEG — A three-year-old boy who was stabbed multiple times while he slept in his bed was to be taken off life support on Friday.

Roxanne Moar said her nephew Hunter Haze Straight-Smith was to be removed from the machines keeping him alive at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre.

She said Hunter suffered severe brain damage during the brutal attack Wednesday.

“My nephew didn’t do nothing to anyone. He was so happy and innocent,” Moar said in an online message.

Outside the hospital Friday afternoon, dozens of family friends and supporters gathered for a vigil. The boy’s mother, Clarice Smith, and other relatives hugged each other and wept during Indigenous prayers and drum songs.

“They’re very distraught,” family friend Darryl Contois said.

“I too have kids, and to see a baby laying there that did no harm to no one really broke my heart.”

Daniel Jensen, 33, was charged with attempted murder on Thursday.

Police said that, generally, a charge may be upgraded when a victim of a crime dies.

Jensen was also charged with assault for an altercation police allege occurred between him and Hunter’s mother.

Clarice Smith had been in an off-again-on-again relationship with Jensen for about six months. He is not Hunter’s father. Police have said that at the time of the attack on the boy, Jensen was under a court order not to contact the mother.

Court records show he was charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats in July.

He was also charged this week with failure to comply with recognizance and probation orders.

A relative said Hunter’s mother had been planning to move home to Manigotagan, about 150 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

Police believe there was an argument between Smith and Jensen at somewhere on Winnipeg’s Main Street. It was after that encounter that police allege that Jensen walked to the home where Hunter was asleep and stabbed him several times.

Family say the injuries were brutal.

Bianca Smith, another of Hunter’s aunts, said Thursday the family cannot understand why the child would have been targeted. Smith said she had met Jensen a few times but did not know him well.

Hunter was smart, mischievous and happy, she said. His mother is devastated, she added, and has stayed by the little boy’s side since he was brought to hospital.

“I have no words to describe it. Nothing like this has ever happened in the family,” the aunt said. “It’s hard, really hard, on everybody.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2019.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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