A day after her son, 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was stabbed to death in his school yard on Monday, October 18, Charla Dopwell heard about the video posted online that showed three young men seemingly mocking his death and taunting relatives and friends.
“I can’t say that it has had too much of an impact on me… I’m so numbed,” she told The CONTACT. “I still can’t believe my baby is gone.”
Mourning her youngest son is particularly difficult because it’s only two months since she enrolled him at Programme Mile End, an alternative high school located just e few blocks from their Cote-des-Neiges home.
“Unlike his older brother who was an honor-roll student, Jannai was having some difficulties and was moving around different schools over the past couple years, I know it has nothing to do with this school but still, I regret the decision enrolling him at this one.”
Dopwell says on the streets and with his friends her son was an aspiring rapper, with big dreams of making it big.
“At home he was almost a mama’s boy always hugging and kissing me… he was so loving,” choking back the tears.
A healthcare worker,
Dopwell says she has been working some extended shifts.
“I’ve been doing it for my children, to make things as easy as possible for them.”
Jannai has three older siblings, two boys and a girl and in their 20s and early 30s.
On the evening of Monday, October 18 around seven-something, he was on the #51 bus making her way home. It was a long day but the following was her day off and she had a meeting with Jennai’s teacher who wanted to update her on her son’s standing at school.
Her cell rang but it was a NO CALLER ID call. Not wanting to be bothered by the scammers who have been harassing her of late, she ignored the call.
Then it rang again, same thing… NO CALLER ID.
She decide to open it but just held the phone to her ears not saying anything.
“Is this Ms. Charla
“Yes… who’s this?”
“It’s the police… your son has been stabbed. He is in the hospital. Where are you right now.”
“I’m on the #51 bus. I’ll be getting off soon at the corner of….”
“As soon as you get off. Stay there, we’re coming to get you.”
Dopwell says as soon as she got off the bus, the police was there and in an instant they were speeding to the Jewism General Hospital.
“I prayed and prayed that he will not be taken away from me,” she said in a hushed voice. “But I think he might have already been dead.”
At the hospital, her worst fears were confirmed when about 8:45 PM the doctors told her that Jannai didn’t make it.
In her grief, Dopwell keeps searching her memory for any indication that her son might have been having problems with other young people on the streets but says she can’t recall him telling her anything significant enough that would lead to this.
“The truth is the only thing that Jannai complained about was how much he was harassed by the police on the street. He would tell me about how much of a hard time they gave him… driving behind him and his friends and calling out their names.
“And because he was so frustrated with them, I was really worried about him and the police.”
Four days after her son was killed, words are circulating on the streets and on social media about the identity of Jannai’s murderer or murderers but Dopwell is still waiting on word from the police on getting justice for her son.
“All he wanted in life was to make it big and take his family out of this place. He would say that to me over and over again.”