EDMONTON -- Four men shouldered the tiny, bright pink casket of a two-year-old girl into a waiting hearse after a funeral service Saturday for a toddler who died after being taken off life-support this week.
Dozens of mourners attended the girl’s funeral, which was held at the Al-Rashid Mosque.
During the service, both parents -- who are facing assault and negligence charges in the case -- were escorted into and out of the building separately by sheriffs through the back door of the mosque. Both were in handcuffs and shackles.
It is alleged that the Algerian-born parents severely abused and neglected their twin two-and-a-half year old girls, who were found May 25 in their Edmonton home.
While one of the girls has since recovered, her sister, referred to only as “M” in court documents, had suffered cardiac arrest and as a result was hospitalized in a “persistent vegetative state” and completely dependent on a mechanical ventilator and feeding tube for her survival.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that an earlier court decision to take her off 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. Late Thursday, the Supreme Court denied to hear the appeal to stay the decision. That decision meant “M” would be taken off the ventilator.
In court, the parents had argued the decision should be left to them and they couldn’t agree to withdrawing life-support due to religious convictions and love for their daughter.
According to court documents, the injuries on both girls were not consistent with what the parents told officials.
When EMS first responded to the family’s south-side home on May 25, they found both girls had bruising on their heads and faces and the more severely injured child had suffered cardiac arrest and needed resuscitation.
The parents said the twins were hurt when they fell down some stairs they had been playing on with their older brother three days earlier. They also maintained the girls were able to crawl and walk with assistance at the time.
However, “medical evidence suggests that this could not be possible,” according to the court documents.
A pediatrician is quoted in the documents saying the girls were “profoundly malnourished... due to deprivation” and would not have been mobile three days earlier. He is also quoted saying the bruises on the girls were “clearly due to multiple impacts” and “cannot be explained by only one event.”
The parents, both 34, are charged with aggravated assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to provide the necessities of life. Police have said M’s death could mean the charges will be upgraded to criminal negligence causing death or the more serious charge of manslaughter.
A bail review for the couple is set for Oct. 18.
-- With files from Dave Lazzarino and Tony Blais