Starlight Tour: The Last, Lonely Night Of Neil Stonechild

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Starlight Tour: The Last, Lonely Night Of Neil Stonechild

by Robert Renaud, Susanne Reber

Random House of Canada | August 15, 2006 | Trade Paperback |

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A teen's suspicious death, a shocking police cover-up and a mother's search for the truth.

In 1990, on a November night that hit -28 degrees Celsius, seventeen-year-old Neil Stonechild disappeared only blocks from his mother's home. His frozen body was found three days later, eight kilometres from where he was last seen in downtown Saskatoon. The police investigation was cursory - no one seemed to wonder about the abrasions on his wrists or the scrapes on his face, or the fact that he was missing a shoe. Neil was drunk and out walking, the police believed, and had died by misadventure. His mother, Stella Bignell, tried her best to push for answers, but no one in authority wanted to listen to a native woman whose sons had often been in trouble with the law.

But Stella did not give up, and neither did the only witness, sixteen-year-old Jason Roy, who had seen Neil, beaten and bleeding, in the back of a Saskatoon police cruiser the night he disappeared. Starlight Tour recounts their struggle for justice in the face of indifferent officials, destroyed police files and institutionalized racism. In the decade following Neil's death, rumours persisted that police sometimes drove natives beyond the edge of town and abandoned them. But it was only in January 2000, when two more men were found frozen to death, that the truth about Neil Stonechild's fate began to emerge. A third man, Darrell Night, survived his "starlight tour," and lived to tell the tale. And soon one of the country's most prominent aboriginal lawyers, Donald Worme, was on the case.

With exclusive co-operation from the Stonechild family, Worme, and other key players, and information not yet revealed in the press coverage, The Starlight Tour is an engrossing and damning portrait of rogue cops, racism, obstruction of justice and justice denied, not only to a boy and his mother but to the entire country's native community.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 448 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: August 15, 2006

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679313087

ISBN - 13: 9780679313083

Found in: Social and Cultural Studies

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– More About This Product –

Starlight Tour: The Last, Lonely Night Of Neil Stonechild

Starlight Tour: The Last, Lonely Night Of Neil Stonechild

by Robert Renaud, Susanne Reber

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 448 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: August 15, 2006

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679313087

ISBN - 13: 9780679313083

Read from the Book

Prologue Early on the frigid morning of January 9, 1964, a curious four-year-old wandered about his new house, scouting his surroundings. The plain one-storey stucco bungalow at 922 Avenue J North, Saskatoon, consisted of just two bedrooms, a bathroom, front room, kitchen and basement, but after the cramped rental suite where the boy and his family used to stay, it seemed enormous. Four people lived with the boy, whose name was Donald, although people usually called him Donny. His mother, Margaret Worme, was thirty-eight years old. Donny loved everything about her. He liked the way she dressed, neatly and carefully, even though her life had been tough. Born and raised on the Kawacatoose reserve, an hour’s drive southeast of the city, she’d had four children before Donny’s father had abandoned her. Donny didn’t remember him. Nor did he remember his brother Darren, born almost three years earlier and put up for adoption at nine months old. Margaret knew the people who had happily taken Darren in – a German couple named Winegarden – but the families soon lost touch, even though they lived only a few kilometres apart. Donny’s mother had made an excruciating choice: she’d decided that the best thing for the rest of her children, and for Darren too, was to give her son up, because the money she got from social assistance and the odd cleaning job would never stretch to feed, clothe and house them all. Donny still had one older brother,
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From the Publisher

A teen's suspicious death, a shocking police cover-up and a mother's search for the truth.

In 1990, on a November night that hit -28 degrees Celsius, seventeen-year-old Neil Stonechild disappeared only blocks from his mother's home. His frozen body was found three days later, eight kilometres from where he was last seen in downtown Saskatoon. The police investigation was cursory - no one seemed to wonder about the abrasions on his wrists or the scrapes on his face, or the fact that he was missing a shoe. Neil was drunk and out walking, the police believed, and had died by misadventure. His mother, Stella Bignell, tried her best to push for answers, but no one in authority wanted to listen to a native woman whose sons had often been in trouble with the law.

But Stella did not give up, and neither did the only witness, sixteen-year-old Jason Roy, who had seen Neil, beaten and bleeding, in the back of a Saskatoon police cruiser the night he disappeared. Starlight Tour recounts their struggle for justice in the face of indifferent officials, destroyed police files and institutionalized racism. In the decade following Neil's death, rumours persisted that police sometimes drove natives beyond the edge of town and abandoned them. But it was only in January 2000, when two more men were found frozen to death, that the truth about Neil Stonechild's fate began to emerge. A third man, Darrell Night, survived his "starlight tour," and lived to tell the tale. And soon one of the country's most prominent aboriginal lawyers, Donald Worme, was on the case.

With exclusive co-operation from the Stonechild family, Worme, and other key players, and information not yet revealed in the press coverage, The Starlight Tour is an engrossing and damning portrait of rogue cops, racism, obstruction of justice and justice denied, not only to a boy and his mother but to the entire country's native community.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Rob Renaud is the Regional Director of CBC Radio Ottawa and Susanne Reber is Executive Producer, Investigations, CBC News. They worked together for over seven years leading CBC National Radio News and have won a number of awards for investigative journalism. They have been researching the Neil Stonechild case for three years.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"For justice junkies like myself, this is a deeply engrossing account…. Should be compulsory reading for Canadian police recruits from sea to shining sea."
-William Deverell, The Globe and Mail

"The Stonechild story is ably captured by veteran CBC journalists Susanne Reber and Robert Renaud in a thoroughly researched, deftly written work…. A powerfully written, meticulously researched work with a cinematic feel, which should be on reading lists for students of Canadian history, journalism or law enforcement."
-Toronto Star

"The suspenseful and meticulous account of a very real and dark chapter in Canada's modern history."
-TIME (Canada)
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