Man says he drove girl, 12, and friends downtown to buy drugs

A 33-year-old Langford man who was one of the last people to see a 12-year-old suspected overdose victim alive says he was helping the Grade 6 student and her friends when he drove them to downtown Victoria to buy drugs.

“People are going to take this whatever way their mind wants to take it,” Cale Goderre said in a phone interview Wednesday. “In one person’s mind, I could be the bad guy. In one person’s mind, I can be a saint.”

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Goderre, who insists he didn’t know Allayah Thomas or her age, said he was asked by her friend — who was about 15 or 16 — if he would drive them and a male friend from Langford to downtown Victoria, where they intended to buy drugs.

“The friend contacted me and asked, literally, if I could drive them downtown instead of taking the bus and I said yes,” said Goderre, who said he has done the same for people in the past. “She said she had two friends with her” — Allayah and a male friend.

Goderre said he drove Allayah and her friends to the parking lot of McDonald’s at 980 Pandora Ave.

He told the Times Colonist he walked only the older girl across the street, while Allayah and her male friend remained in the vehicle. He said it’s a bad area, so he keeps his head down. He claims not to have seen who sold her the heroin.

It’s commonly understood by drug users now that heroin is fentanyl or has fentanyl in it, Goderre said.

“I drove them downtown to McDonald’s and walked them across the street, made sure they were OK, walked back to my vehicle, came back to Langford, and dropped them off,” he said.

Once back in Langford, the three passengers smoked the drugs in his vehicle, he said. He said he dabbles in drugs, but wouldn’t take heroin and did not participate in the drug use.

Goderre said he dropped the passengers off around Savory Road in Langford. Minutes later, they called back and said Allayah had left her backpack in the vehicle, so he returned and dropped them off again “safely.” “They were all still alive and moving.”

Allayah, who lived with her grandparents in Gordon Head in Saanich, died on April 14 of a suspected drug overdose while at a friend’s home in Langford. Mother Adriana Londono said she was told her daughter went to bed and never woke up. The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the cause of death.

Goderre, who said he has mental-health challenges, said he heard the news of the girl’s death days later: “I’m not sure if I’ve even dealt with it yet.”

On one hand, he said, “I don’t have any guilt, per se,” because “all I did was just drive somebody somewhere.” On the other hand, he said, he understands criticism that he could have declined the request.

Allayah’s mother said she has never heard of Goderre. “It made me so angry he would do that,” said Londono, upon hearing the news. “I don’t know how my daughter knew him.”

Londono said if Goderre truly wanted to help her daughter, he would not have driven her to meet drug dealers.

Londono has herself struggled with drug addiction — having accidentally overdosed nine times — along with mental-health problems.

Goderre said he has been interviewed by West Shore RCMP, and is being investigated for criminal negligence causing death and drug trafficking. The RCMP confirmed Tuesday they are investigating the death, but did not respond to an interview request.

Goderre insisted he did not purchase drugs for the girls. “I did not physically handle it. I was just giving them a ride somewhere.”

He said everyone wants someone to pay for Allayah’s death, but the opioid crisis is far bigger than one person. The girls were going to do the drugs with or without him, he argued.

“I didn’t bring them to where I know where to get it — I brought them to where they were already going,” he said. “Get this straight about this drug — they will go get it. It might not be right then, it might be a little bit later, but …”

About six people a day in B.C. die of an opioid overdose.

Criminal defence lawyer Michael Mulligan said an adult who buys and uses fentanyl is likely well aware it might kill them, while a child who has just turned 12 would have less capacity for agency and autonomy.

“Selling it to an adult who uses it and dies and selling it to a child who uses it and dies, it seems to me clear that there’s a much higher degree of moral culpability,” said Mulligan.

Mulligan said he’s not surprised if there’s increased police scrutiny on anyone involved in the overdose death of a 12-year-old, whether bringing her to the drugs or selling them to her.

In addition to drug possession and trafficking charges, criminal negligence causing death, or manslaughter are charges that might be investigated.

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