†by William Bonneau
1947 ó Daniel, Michael, and Gilbert Bonneau were placed in St.
Colmanís Home.† My brother Patrick was
taken in by a family friend; I remained with my father.† These untimely and tragic turns of events
were precipitated by the sudden illness, hospitalization, and subsequent
death of my mother (she was only 39 years old at the time of her death).† Local authorities would not allow my
father to keep us together; they did not believe my father would be able to
care for all of us.† Against my
fatherís will, we were all separated Ė never again to be reunited in our
youth as a family.
1950 ó Daniel left St. Colmanís and was transferred to another
school.† Sept. 1953 óNov. 27,1953 - My
family was notified that Gilbert had taken ill and had been sent to the Homes
The following day my father was informed that Gilbert's
condition drastically worsened; he was removed from the infirmary and taken
to Albany Hospital (n/k/a Albany Medical Center).† My father, my brother Danny and I immediately went to the
Danny and I remember that day clearly as it was the last day
that we would ever see our brother Gilbert alive. Gilbert was comatose; he
had tubes down his throat and up his nose. His head was wrapped in a bandage.
Both my brother and I recall spots of blood on the bandage. I was only
fourteen years of age at the time of Gilbertís death and my brother Danny was
thirteen. Our father, without question, readily accepted what the doctors
told him concerning the cause of Gilbertís death. My father was heartbroken
and was not able to talk to us about Gilbertís death after that point. My
mother was never informed of Gilbertís death as it was thought that it might
make matters worse for her.
Through the years after our little
brother passed on, we all thought about him often and we missed him very
much.† It was very hard for us to know
that Gilbert was the most helpless of us all and he was left in St. Colmanís
by himself and none of us (his family) were able to be there for him.† Of course we all understand now that there
was nothing we could do about it, as we ourselves were all very young and we
also were placed in various living situations that were out of our control.
More than twenty years had passed since the death of
Gilbert, when to our distress we received a most upsetting phone call from a
woman claiming to have information surrounding the death of my brother.† Her name was Marion Maynard, and she
claimed to have resided at St. Colman's Home during the same period of time
that my three brothers did.† That
would place her time of residency anywhere between the years of 1947 -
1953.† This mysterious call was made
to us in 1978 and it has triggered a chain of events leaving our family with
a great many questions that have yet to be clearly answered to our
satisfaction.† Our family feels
strongly that the information given to us by this woman after so many years
have transpired, must be true in light of the various discrepancies
surrounding all the available paperwork and the suspicious nature and
questions surrounding Gilbertís place of burial.† Marion Maynard (caller) claims to have witnessed my brother
Gilbert being struck several times over the head with a stick or a piece of
wood by a nun.† She gave us the nunís
name and also stated that the nun threatened to punish them (other witnesses
to the beating) if they repeated the incident to anyone.† Marion also stated that Gilbert died the
next day at Albany Hospital.
I hope you can now understand the impact that this call
has had on our family and our deep desire to get to the truth of this grave
matter.† Our brother Gilbert was just
a poor defenseless 8 year old; in only nine days he would have been nine. His
life is very dear and important to us and we feel strongly that those
responsible for his well being, now, in light of the various discrepancies
surrounding the extensive paperwork, need to thoroughly investigate and
adequately answer all of our questions and address all of our concerns.
Many people suggest that we just let this go and forget
all about it all.† I ask you, if this
child were your brother, or sister, or perhaps even your son or daughter,
would you be able to let it go so easily?†
This issue has received extensive media coverage; we have all heard
the experts making statements indicating that there was no foul play
surrounding the death of my brother Gilbert, however, most of the paperwork
we have strongly suggests a different story.
It is the intent of this article to allow the public to
examine the facts as they have been presented to us in the relevant
documents, and to allow those interested, to see for themselves the reasons
why we are not giving up on our search for the truth and why we have so many
unanswered questions that need to be properly addressed if our family is to
have peace.† All we have of our little
brother is one picture and many troublesome questions.
The following is only one example of the many questions
that we find disturbing to us due to the conflicting nature of the
documentation presented to us alongside with a variety of other discrepancies
surrounding the death and burial of our brother.† My brotherís life needs to be accounted for.
What was Gilbertís actual
time of death?
a) Was it 6:45 a.m. according to the Autopsy
b) Was it 4:00 p.m. according to the Death
c) Was it 6:05 p.m.
according to the Medical Records at Albany Medical Library?