The memorial statue of 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin wearing a Superman costume is nearly complete, and should be ready for a planned Oct. 18 unveiling, Heat Vision reports.
The story of the Toronto boy, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparent guardians, received renewed attention in Canada last fall with a coroner’s inquest, during which Jeffrey's father testified to his love of Superman. “He wanted to fly,” Richard Baldwin recalled. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
That testimony struck a chord with Todd Boyce, an Ottawa father of four who raised more than $36,000 on Indiegogo to fund a statue of Jeffrey in his Superman costume, sculpted by Ontario artist Ruth Abernethy. That effort drew international headlines in July, when DC Entertainment denied permission for the Superman logo to be included on the statue. However, the company quickly reconsidered its decision.
"I am grateful to DC for allowing Jeffrey's statue to display the iconic Superman S-shield," Boyce told Heat Vision. "The amount of affection shown for Jeffrey from people around the world has been extremely heartwarming."
Jeffrey’s teenage parents lost custody of the boy and his three siblings, who were placed into the care of their maternal grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman. While two of the children were treated relatively well, Jeffrey and one of his sisters were locked in a dark room for 14 hours a day, deprived of food, verbally and mentally abused and left to live in their own waste. Jeffrey died Nov. 30, 2002, of septic shock and starvation. Bottineau and Kidman were convicted in 2006 of second-degree murder. The case led to major changes in policy regarding the granting of custody of children to relatives.
The statue will be erected in Toronto's Greenwood Park, along with a bench covered in messages to Jeffrey from contributors to the Indiegogo campaign.