British Columbia

Man sentenced to 18 months in jail after toddler killed by snake venom

Henry James Thomas, 51, was sentenced for failing to provide the necessities of life in North Vancouver provincial court on Tuesday.

Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales, 2, died after poisoning in 2014

Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales was two years old when she died in May 2014. (Legacy.com)

A man has been handed an 18-month jail sentence over the death of a toddler killed by snake venom more than five years ago.

Henry James Thomas, 51, was sentenced for failing to provide the necessaries of life in provincial court in North Vancouver on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to the offence in July.

Thomas had been caring for Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales at his Fraser Valley home when she was poisoned in May 2014. The two-year-old died after being returned to her mother in North Vancouver.

DNA testing in 2016 and 2017 confirmed the two-year-old's cause of death.

RCMP searched Thomas's home in Agassiz, B.C., as part of the investigation and seized snakes and "related equipment." 

Police have never said what type of snake was involved or how the girl may have come into contact with the venom.

After taking time served into account, Thomas has 15 months of his sentence left to serve.

He will be on probation for two years after his release.

With files from the Canadian Press

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