Alberta mother accused of killing sons

A mother has been charged with the killing of her two young boys who were found dead in early February in a house in Millet, Alta., the RCMP said Tuesday.
Curtis and Allyson McConnell are shown with their sons Connor and Jayden in this undated photo.

A mother has been charged with the killing of her two young boys who were found dead in early February in a house in Millet, Alta., the RCMP said Tuesday.

Allyson Louise McConnell, 31, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of her sons, Jayden, 10 months, and Connor, 2½ years.

Police waited three weeks to charge McConnell because of their duty to perform due diligence in the investigation, RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes said Tuesday.

"Charges cannot be sworn until such time as they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person has in fact committed an offence," he said. "That decision was reached as of yesterday."

McConnell has been remanded into custody and will appear in Wetaskiwin provincial court on March 16. 

Connor and Jayden McConnell are shown here on a Facebook memorial site. ((Facebook))

McConnell will remain under 24-hour supervision in a medical facility until it is determined she is well enough to be moved to a correctional facility. That decision would be made by medical officials, Oakes said.

Privacy laws prohibit the RCMP from releasing details about McConnell's medical condition.

"Ms. McConnell has the right to medical privacy and I can't speak to her specifics without her expressed consent, and to my knowledge she has not given us that consent to speak about her current condition," Oakes said.

The boys were found dead by their father, Curtis McConnell, on Feb. 1, in Millet, a town about 40 kilometres south of Edmonton. A neighbour said McConnell told her he had found the boys' bodies in the bathtub.

The RCMP have not released the cause of the deaths.

Edmonton police said a woman tried to kill herself by jumping off an overpass in the south end of the city an hour before the boys' bodies were found. They have never released the woman's identity.

RCMP did confirm a car connected to the McConnell's Millet home was found in a nearby parking lot. 

A small memorial sits in the snow outside the McConnell home in Millet, Alta. ((CBC))
People in Millet said news of the charges will bring difficult feelings back to the surface.

"I'm sad for her, I'm sad for the McConnells, I'm sad for our community," said Jocelyn MacInnis, who lives a few doors down from the McConnell home.

"It's very painful. I've seen those little boys, I saw them when she used to walk in front of the house," she said. "We'll never understand it. I'll never understand it."

Residents of Millet don't want to talk about the slayings because they have such trouble believing they could even happen, said Mayor David Gursky.

"If you're not directly involved with the tragedy, it's a matter of, you know, you feel sorry for them and you give them as much support as you can.

"I think it's more important for people to focus on the living and moving forward."

Couple in divorce proceedings

According to divorce documents obtained earlier this month by CBC News, Allyson and Curtis McConnell were in the midst of a divorce and custody battle.

The couple got married in Australia in January 2007, separated in November 2009, and began divorce proceedings in December.

According to the documents, Allyson McConnell wanted to take the children back to her native Australia where her family lives, and she said she would allow her husband access to the children.

But Curtis McConnell did not want his children to leave Canada and in a court affidavit, he indicated his worry that she might try to take them to Australia without his knowledge or permission. He also said he had taken the boys' passports for safekeeping.

On Dec. 21, a judge ruled the children were to remain in Canada and both parents would have joint custody of the boys.