Assault survivor Marlene Bird passes away

Long-time Prince Albert resident Marlene Bird, who miraculously survived being beaten and set on fire in 2014, has died.

Montreal Lake Cree Nation Chief Frank Roberts, a friend of the family, confirmed that Bird passed away at 7:30 a.m. Monday morning. She had been in a coma for several days.

Roberts described Bird as an inspiration to First Nations women for how she battled back from the attack

“The best thing I remember about her was, despite the challenges that she had, she was still a happy person,” he said. “Deep inside, she still cared for people. She was a very kind and generous person.”

On June 1, 2014, Bird was found in a Prince Albert parking lot after being brutally attacked and set on fire by Leslie Black. Her wounds were so severe doctors had to amputate both her legs.

Black was arrested a few weeks later and plead guilty to attempted murder. In September 2017, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the crime. At the time, Bird told reporters she was willing to forgive Black and move on with her life.

“I like (Black’s) apology,” she said afterwards. “I wanted him to face me to see if he really meant it.”

Roberts said Bird’s family was asking for privacy, but would release a statement later today.

More to come.