Update on
the Baby
Who Was
from a

by Michael Bailey

 photo of Capilano Bridge
The photo above was shot by a surveillance camera only moments after the baby fell or was thrown from the bridge. The red square indicates the position of the child's mother and young brother.
Dear Lucy and Mouth,

Let me try to describe to you, a child of the midwest, the Capilano Bridge, off of which that baby was thrown. ["Letter to a Baby Who Was Thrown from a Bridge," Mouth, January, 2000]
Vancouver is like Buenos Aires or San Francisco where the land seems to suddenly vanish into the sea. There is no gradual descent from low lying hills to plains and beaches. Instead, the granite mountains takes a steep, swift plunge into the cold water. Its raw splendor literally takes away the breath.
You know how Kansas is. Most of the land is tended carefully and husbanded to squeeze out the last yield of crop. But it has not been that way for long. Land left untended goes back to nature with a surprising eagerness. The ancient land of Europe has been under man's domain for so long that it lingers when unattended as if waiting for the landowner to return. Not so in North America. Here the farmer is still at war with the natural environment and nowhere moreso than in British Columbia.
Metropolitan Vancouver sits on a sliver of land surrounded on three sides by water. To reach North Vancouver one must cross the imposing Lion's Gate Bridge. Across the bridge, the mountains rise straight up out of the water. To reach the neighborhoods of North Vancouver, the road clings to the edge of the sea.
To approach the mountains, your only route is Capilano Canyon, a deep and dangerous-looking place. Millenia of melting snow have cut a crag only a few hundred meters wide through the granite landscape. The canyon is hundreds of feet deep with water raging at the bottom in every season. The canyon's sides are steep, overgrown with scrub oak, blackberries, wildflowers and moss, pierced with sharp-edged rock.
A single-lane road runs along the top of the canyon, carrying adventurers and tourists to the trams that will carry them up the mountain slope. On the left side of the road is a parking lot. If you walk 200 meters further, you come to the Capilano Bridge. At no time of the year is it visible from the road.

The bridge is rope with planks laid down for a walkway. It is something of a challenge to cross it as it sways in the wind and with your movements. In the middle, the canyon floor is hundreds of feet below the see-through walkway and stomachs have been known to evacuate their contents at the dizzying sight.
Throwing a baby off that bridge is perhaps the most heartless act I can imagine. Lonely is only the beginning of how the child would feel, abandoned and assaulted by a parent.
I attribute Baby Kayla's survival more to the obvious incompetence of the mother's throwing arm than to divine intervention. I don't think you can appreciate the true nature of tossing that child away until you have seen the site.

There are places that seem haunted and dangerous just by their smell and feel. Capilano Bridge is one of them. I have always been frightened by it.
Does anyone know what became of the child? I know she survived and nothing more.


[Editor's note: The child survived, is said to be doing well, and has been returned to her mother. On February 9, the Vancouver Crown Counsel announced that no charges would be brought. 18-month-old Kayla Hama, who has Downs Syndrome, fell or was thrown from her mother's arms on September 9, 1999. A sign at the entrance to the bridge prohibits holding a child in arms. The mother, who was also holding her five-year-old son's hand at the time, has said that Kayla's fall was a horrible accident. We note, however, that after the accident she called not rescuers but her estranged husband. A surveillance video, shown at left, captured the scene just a moment after Kayla's fall.}

Michael Bailey wrote an earlier Mouth article about Polly Spare, the Voice of the Retarded.

Read Ragged Edge magazine's March 2000 story of an alternate method
of dumping disabled children

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