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Baby made headlines after being born on a flight. Nine years on, details of her short, tragic life are revealed

Chloe Guan-Branch made national news when her mother gave birth to her on a flight from Calgary to Tokyo in 2015.

Now, she’s making headlines yet again for a different reason: She died on 15 May 2020 at just five years old after her caregiver assaulted and neglected her. The details of her life and ultimate death due to neglect were unknown until this week when an Ontario judge lifted a publication ban on the case in a challenge initiated by two Canadian news outlets.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Pierre Roger said Chloe’s paternal grandparents gave their permission to end the ban, “as this would give the victim a final say,” The Ottawa Citizen reports.

Her stepfather Justin Cassie-Berube, now 27, was arrested in June 2021 and convicted in March 2024 of manslaughter, assault, criminal negligence and failing to provide the necessities of life after Chloe was found dead in a soiled bed from neglect.

He will be sentenced on Friday.

Chloe Guan-Branch, pictured, died in May 2020 due to abuse and neglect at the hands of her stepfather newly unveiled court documents reveal (Ontario Superior Courts)

The newly uncovered trial details reveal that Chloe was born to her mother Ada Guan and her father Wesley Branch. She was removed from their care after just a few months before returning to her mother’s custody at three years old, according to The Ottawa Citizen.

At that point, Ms Guan moved to Alberta and met Cassie-Berube online. Ms Guan then moved to Ottawa to be with Cassie-Berube, bringing Chloe along, The Ottawa Citizen reports.

Ms Guan later testified that Cassie-Berube controlled her, threatening to end his life if she left him.

Officials said they found the young girl with a “shocking” number of bruises, cuts, a possible cigarette burn and a ruptured bladder, according to The Ottawa Citizen.

Chloe Guan-Branch (left) pictured with stepfather Justin Cassie-Berube (right) in February 2020. Her stepfather will be sentenced on Friday (Ontario Superior Courts)

The five-year-old then died of acute uremia, a condition caused by waste entering the bloodstream, the outlets reported.

In the hours leading up to her death, Cassie-Berube’s phone records indicated he was looking up her symptoms, the CBC reports. His searches included “what to get kids to eat after puking” and “what should I eat after passing out.” Cassie-Berube admitted to beating the five-year-old but said he never punched her in the stomach, instead claiming her ruptured bladder was caused by falling on her bed railing.

Pathologists were not able to determine the definitive cause of the rupture, the outlets reported.

At Cassie-Berube’s trial, Ms Guan testified she wanted to take her daughter to the hospital but was afraid to make her partner angry. The mother also testified that Cassie-Berube was violent with her and Chloe, saying he “used Chloe as a punching bag when he was angry,” according to The Ottawa Citizen.

Cassie-Berube told officials, “If I’m the monster that hurt a little girl, I need to be helped,” the CBC reports.

Mr Branch and his parents wrote in a victim impact statement that they never knew Chloe except as a baby, according to The Ottawa Citizen.

“We were hoping one day we could meet her,” the three said in their statement. “We thought we’d reminisce about the day she was born on a plane to Japan.”


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