Derek Hoare had taken his eyes off his nine-year-old autistic daughter, Ayn Van Dyk, for just a moment.
Then she was gone.
Ayn had been playing in the backyard of his Mt. Lehman Road home, which was surrounded by a six-foot fence.
But somehow she had disappeared. Derek sprinted up the street for several minutes, then turned around and ran in the other direction.
After 10 frantic minutes, he called the police.
More than three hours later, Ayn was found two houses over in a neighbour’s pool. She was safe and sound.
It was a fairy tale ending, told by various media covering the story. And for a moment, it was.
When the police brought Ayn back, she ran to her father and threw her arms around his shoulders as he breathed tearful relief.
But four days later, representatives from the Ministry of Children and Family Development came to his house with orders to take Ayn away.
“Basically, what they’re saying is I’m a single dad and I have two autistic kids and my other son and it’s too much for me to handle. So, they’re going to take one of my kids away to lighten my load,” said Derek on Tuesday, after learning he wouldn’t even be able to see his daughter until a hearing determines access rights.
Because of her 24-hour care requirements, she won’t go into a foster home, but will be placed in a psychiatric facility for evaluation.
Derek is concerned she will be sedated and drugged for her autism, which he has always opposed, despite doctor advice to the contrary.
“They’re probably holding her down and sedating her,” he said, his voice choking. “This is a nightmare.”
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