The RCMP have charged an adult with second-degree murder in the March homicide of a Morinville-area toddler who was in foster care.
While a press release Monday morning did not identify the adult in any way, media out of Edmonton identified the person as the 21-month-old girl’s foster mother 34-year-old Christine Laverdiere.
The woman was arrested Friday, three months after the toddler was taken to hospital with serious injuries then died two days later on March 3. An autopsy conducted the following day concluded the 21-month-old girl had been a victim of homicide.
Sgt. Tim Taniguchi of RCMP K Division in Edmonton confirmed an adult was arrested Friday. The second-degree murder charge was sworn over the weekend.
Earlier reports stated the toddler had been in foster care for the two months preceding her death. She was also apparently shuttled between two different foster homes shortly before she died, one of which was a respite home.
Alberta Children and Youth Services confirmed the woman in custody was the toddler’s foster mother but would not provide any more details. The provincial department has also declined to offer any information about the toddler’s living circumstances prior to her death.
Taniguchi said he did not know why it took investigators so long to lay charges.
“There are many investigational techniques that take time. They look at interviews, forensic evidence, all of which can take time.”
Taniguchi said the RCMP Serious Crimes Unit, working in partnership with the Morinville RCMP detachment, were investigating the file.
The toddler was first admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital at the University of Alberta on March 1. The RCMP started a sudden death investigation when she died two days later but upgraded it to a homicide investigation following the autopsy. The cause of death has not been released.
Alberta Children and Youth Services also launched a full investigation into the case.
Laverdiere will make her next court appearance June 24 in Morinville. She is being held without bail.