A 5-year-old Canadian boy who was starved to death by his grandparents in 2002 once dreamt of being Superman.
An Ottawa man, Todd Boyce, who was moved by Jeffrey Baldwin’s death decided to erect a memorial in the boy’s name, but DC Entertainment has informed him that the Superman logo cannot be included.
Boyce, a father-of-four who never met Baldwin, raised $25,000 and contracted an artist to build a bronze statue in Greenwood Park. He wanted the statue to be an image of Baldwin dressed as the Man of Steel.
"It was important for me because I really felt I wanted to capture the photograph of Jeffrey wearing his Superman costume and have it as close to that as possible," Boyce said.
DC allegedly refused to let them use the logo because they were afraid it would be associated with the torture Baldwin suffered at the hands of his grandparents.
"Basically they didn't want to have the character of Superman associated with child abuse,” Boyce told CBC. “They weren't comfortable with that."
Baldwin had been the child of teenage parents, who lost custody of him to his maternal grandparents. On November 30, 2002, he died from complications due to chronic starvation. His grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, were convicted of second-degree murder in 2006.
His father Richard Baldwin testified in court that his son wanted to be just like Superman.
"He wanted to fly," Richard Baldwin said. "He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up (as Superman) for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel."
DC Entertainment would not comment on the memorial.
"To be fair to DC I don't think they wanted to say no. I think they gave it serious thought,” Boyce added.
The statue will have to be changed from an “S” on the boy’s chest to a “J.”
It is still scheduled to be unveiled at a September dedication.
One of Baldwin’s sisters has written a poem to be engraved on a bench that will be part of the memorial. The poem opens with: “I wish heaven had a phone so I could hear your voice again."
Baldwin's grandparents had custody of him and his three siblings. One of his sisters was subjected to the same abuse, but the other two were allegedly treated well. The daily snack his sister had each day at school likely saved her life, according to court documents.