British Columbia

Man pleads guilty in case of 2-year-old killed by snake venom

Henry Thomas, 51, has pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life for a two-year-old under his care. Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales died after she was poisoned by snake venom.

51-year-old Henry Thomas charged after death of Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales

Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales died in May 2014. (

A man has pleaded guilty in connection with the 2014 death of a two-year-old girl who was poisoned and killed by snake venom.

Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales died in May 2014.

51-year-old Henry Thomas pleaded guilty on Thursday to failing to provide the necessaries of life, the B.C. Prosecution Service said.

The plea, made in North Vancouver Provincial Court, comes six months after Thomas was arrested and charged.

RCMP said Thomas had a two-year-old child in his care on May 18, 2014, and returned her to her mother's home in North Vancouver early the next morning.

Hours later, at 5 a.m., the child's mother phoned RCMP and said the toddler was dead.

Mounties searched Thomas's home in Agassiz, B.C., and seized snakes and "related equipment" in July 2015.

Further biological DNA testing was run in 2016 and 2017, confirming the two-year-old's cause of death.

"This is a very tragic incident that resulted in a complex, unique investigation by police and support agencies," Supt. Chris Kennedy, the officer in charge of the North Vancouver RCMP, said in a statement in January 2019.

"Our condolences are extended to the family and community of the deceased child."

Thomas is set to be sentenced on Oct. 3.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?