Credits: File Photo.
The two-year-old girl, who is being referred to only as M in court documents, was taken off life support Thursday and has since died, the Canadian Press reports.
M was found May 25 in her home in Edmonton. She was severely injured and had suffered cardiac arrest and has since been in a coma in hospital. Her parents are being accused of putting her in that state.
They may potentially face homicide charges in the wake of the child's death.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that an earlier court decision to take her off of life support could not be appealed, stating "the child's condition is irreversible and no further medical intervention is warranted."
But Thursday morning, a motion was filed to try and bring the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal to stay the decision was denied.
This could mean upgraded charges for her parents, who were facing aggravated assault and failing to provide the necessities of life, said Michelle Davio, spokeswoman for Alberta's Justice and Solicitor General office.
"We have to wait and see what happens," Davio said.
According to Peter Sankoff, professor of criminal law at the University of Alberta, that upgrade has a range of options.
They include similar, but more severe charges, to the ones they already face - failure to provide necessities causing death and criminal negligence causing death - to the most severe manslaughter charge.
"My suspicion is, the moment the baby dies, they will be charged with the more serious offence," said Sankoff early Thursday.
That change is a significant one, Sankoff said, but not one that would have a major impact on sentencing if the parents are found guilty.
"Any time you put death into the equation, it's a more serious charge, that's just the nature of the beast," he said.
"I don't see significant additional jail time simply because of the death of the baby. The reason I say that is because the baby is so close to death. Either way, I just don't see it as making a massive difference."
He said the sanctity of human life is an important factor in a final ruling, but practically speaking, a final sentence would be similar regardless of the charges they face.
"There is no functional difference between the three. What needs to be proven is slightly different but at the end of the day they're all facing a maximum of life imprisonment," he said.