The husband of an Edmonton woman accused of killing their seven-year-old son says his wife was suffering from severe depression.
"We want to inform the public that Nerlin Sarmiento was under psychiatric treatment and medical care for severe depression, severe distress with the Grey Nuns Hospital for the last two years," her husband Florentino Jajoy told CBC News in a prepared statement on Thursday.
"There is not enough evidence to prove this wrongful accusation against Nerlin. As a family, our opinion is that she is innocent because she was not responsible for her actions."
Sarmiento, 32, was charged on Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her son, Omar Aileen Jajoy.
The boy was pronounced dead in hospital on Tuesday after paramedics were called to a south Edmonton apartment. Police have not released the cause of death, but it’s believed that Omar drowned.
Jajoy contacted CBC News on Thursday saying that he wanted to talk about what happened. Jajoy appeared fragile and overwhelmed and started to cry at a couple of points during the interview.
Jajoy said that his wife of 12 years loved their son and didn’t get the help she needed for her condition. He said she was hospitalized twice for depression.
"We are certain that Nerlin Sarmiento loved her son Omar and she was not in the right state of the mind and lost sight of herself under her prescribed medication," he said.
"Her treatment was wrongly prescribed, considering her fragile and vulnerable state."
Jajoy says that he was at work on Tuesday morning when detectives contacted him to tell him his son was dead.
"I don’t believe that she did it. She loved Omar and [his sister] and I love her too," he said.
Jajoy said Omar’s older sister is strong and is trying to understand what happened to her brother.
"He's a kind soul," Jajoy said. "He's my son. I love him too much. I still remember him. I love him. He was happy all the time. He was happy with our family."
Jajoy and his wife are originally from Colombia and in his statement he thanked members of the Latin community for their support.
Sarmiento is scheduled to make her first appearance in court on Friday. Jajoy says he hasn't seen his wife since she was arrested on Tuesday.
Omar's funeral is scheduled to take place on Saturday morning.