Man Sentenced to 3 Years for Death of Toddler with ‘Profoundly Disturbing’ Injuries

A Manitoba man has been sentenced to three years in prison after a judge called the injuries suffered by a three-year-old boy in his care “profoundly disturbing”. On Tuesday, Houston Bushie, 27, was given this sentence after pleading guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life for three-year-old Abel Leveque-Flett.

Abel was rushed to a nursing station in the eastern Manitoba community of Little Grand Rapids on Aug. 23, 2018, where he was pronounced dead. The court heard that Abel had epilepsy and developmental and physical disabilities that meant he couldn’t talk or walk without a walker.

An autopsy revealed that Abel had sustained seven broken bones, more than 70 burns, bruises, and scrapes. Crown attorney Sarah Thiessen stated that Abel would have been in unimaginable pain, crying consistently, and yet Bushie did nothing to help him.

The judge, Keith Eyrikson, expressed his shock at the photos of Abel’s injuries, describing them as “seared into” his mind. Eyrikson labeled the 73 days Abel spent under Bushie’s care as “73 days of hell” and revealed that the toddler’s weight had dropped by nearly 17 percent during that time.

Bushie’s partner, Alayna Flett, who was also caring for Abel and his three siblings during the same period, has already been convicted on the same charge. The biological mother of Abel expressed her grief and refused to wish harm or death upon anyone, despite the severe heartache caused by the situation.

In court, it was revealed that Bushie has a significant history of abuse and intergenerational trauma, with a criminal record that includes several assaults. Despite this, his defense lawyer, Matthew Munce, argued that Bushie’s remorse should not be discounted. Bushie himself apologized, expressing regret for his inaction and taking full responsibility for what happened.

The tragic case has prompted the Manitoba Department of Families to order a review of Abel’s death, with the final report received in May 2022. The confidential nature of the report has raised questions about the response to the circumstances leading to Abel’s untimely death.