March on Friday for assault victim in critical condition

Tyler Clarke
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Police are seen tending to the scene at the 1200 block of First Avenue West on Sunday morning, where Marlene Darlene Bird, 47, was found with serious injuries. 

The “aggravated assault” description for what happened to local woman Marlene Darlene Bird, 47, doesn’t do justice to the violent scene paramedics and police saw.


“I have never seen anything like this in my life, and I have been around -- I have been around,” Bird’s aunt Lorna Thiessen said on Thursday afternoon.  

“What somebody did was demonic. Human beings don’t just do that -- not in the condition that she’s in. Not what’s been done to her.

“She’s pretty bad -- pretty bad … I don’t know what happened to her body. I just know that there are some serious things that have happened.”

UPDATE: Click HERE for a follow-up story about Friday's march.

Thiessen has joined a handful of family members at Bird’s bedside in Edmonton this week, where the victim of an alleged assault remains in critical condition.

Included in the group of eight supporters at Bird’s beside are her two adult children, her mother Jane Toles, Thiessen and fellow members of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation.

In addition to supporting Bird as she faces life-threatening injuries, her family is urging the public to help police bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.

On Thursday, Sgt. Brandon Mudry said that there are no updates on the case to share at this time.

Police and paramedics were called to the 1200 block of First Avenue West at about 10:20 a.m. on Sunday, where they found Bird had sustained life-threatening injuries.

She was taken to Victoria Hospital, where she was stabilized, before being sent to Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital in critical condition.

Bird was subsequently transported to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton where things remained “touch and go” on Thursday, Thiessen said.

“We will be staying here for a while because she’s in critical condition and has had a lot of operations,” she summarized.

Thiessen said that Bird’s support team is praying both for her recovery and that she’s confident the perpetrator(s) will come forward.

“God saw that happen,” Thiessen said. “He knows who they are and I pray for whoever it was who did this, that God will put a heavy conviction on them so they can not rest one second of their lives. They’ll have to phone in their names and give themselves up -- that’s how I pray.”

A march in Bird’s honour will take place in downtown Prince Albert on Friday, with anyone interested in supporting the cause encouraged to organize at the Venice House Pizza parking lot shortly before its noon kickoff.  

What somebody did was demonic. Human beings don’t just do that -- not in the condition that she’s in. Not what’s been done to her. Lorna Thiessen

The march will wind its way through the city’s downtown core, culminating at the Margo Fournier Centre, where Bird was found on Sunday morning.  

March organizer and family friend Wendy Merasty said that the event’s intention is to bring public awareness to the reality of violence in Prince Albert and to raise money for Bird’s support team’s stay in Edmonton.

“It’s open for everybody to come and bring that awareness that if you see something happening, call the cops,” Merasty said. “That one phone call could save someone’s life.”

Given the nature of Bird’s injuries, Merasty said that the assault was unlikely to have been a silent ordeal.

“Just the idea that people are just driving by and not acknowledging what’s happening and what’s taking place and just letting it go -- that’s what made me want to do this walk.”

Although she’s not involved in organizing the march, Thiessen said that she agrees with the idea that greater public awareness around violence needs to happen.

Sporting a 36-year career in crisis work, shelter management and other related fields, Thiessen said that violence can affect anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic level.

“There are certain levels that don’t hear about what goes on the street -- they hear little blurbs, but then they forget about it because they have to make dinner now -- that kind of thing,” Thiessen said.

“It needs to hit the public. It needs to be something that’s dynamite, and they need to know that this gory thing happened here right in our own town.”

“I think people need to know so they know exactly how to help -- so that they have compassion.”

At Friday’s march, Merasty plans on handing out a “get well soon” card for people to sign that she will send to Bird -- “So that she knows that people care about her and she’s not just somebody who used to walk the streets,” she explained.

“I just hope that … we have enough support so that Marlene feels that she can pull through this.

“We’ve got to do something, because it’s so severe. We don’t know if she’s going to pull through or not, and there’s somebody out there who knows something.”

Organizations: University of Alberta Hospital, Victoria Hospital, Venice House Pizza Margo Fournier Centre

Geographic location: Edmonton, Montreal Lake, Saskatoon

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Recent comments

  • Concerned Grandmother
    June 06, 2014 - 15:41

    This is just so sickening. How could anyone do this to someone. I hope they catch whoever did this and a life sentence in jail is handed out. No one deserves this.

  • cecile
    June 06, 2014 - 15:02

    this type of action done to a woman is unacceptable to me, because I am a woman, It should not be tolerated, its sick that someone would do this to her, is totally unacceptable to me, I truly hate violence and so sick that a person would do this to another human being...even dogs don't go that far.....I truly hope this woman recovers and if she knows who done this to her, that she will tell, so justice can be served....