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Amber Lucius's mother appears in court on murder charge

A woman accused of killing her nine-year-old daughter made a brief court appearance Monday morning in Didsbury, Alta.

Lucius, 9, was found dead in a car on a rural road near Sundre, Alta., on Sept. 2

Amber Lucius' body was discovered in a vehicle on a rural southern Alberta road near Sundre in early September. (Lucius family)

A woman accused of killing her nine-year-old daughter made a brief court appearance via closed-circuit television on Monday morning in Didsbury, Alta. 

The body of Amber Lucius was found in a car on a rural road near Sundre, Alta., on Sept. 2. She had been visiting her mother, Laura Coward, on the Labour Day long weekend and was supposed to be returned to her father, Duane Lucius, by 6 p.m. on Aug. 31 but was not.

Laura Coward, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her nine-year-old daughter, Amber Lucius. (Jane Fletcher)

The cause of her death has not been revealed.

According to court documents, the girl was at the centre of a lengthy custody battle between her parents.

Coward and Lucius separated in October 2007 after nearly three years of marriage. But despite 10 court orders directing Coward to allow Lucius access to his daughter, Coward did not comply and Lucious was granted full custody of Amber in June 2013.

Amber lived with her father near the small community of Millet, south of Edmonton, and Coward was granted prescribed visits.

Court documents say Amber's father went to Coward's home after his daughter was not returned from the Labour Day weekend visit with her mother but found that Coward had moved out.

Lucius called Wetaskiwin RCMP to report Amber as missing but an Amber Alert was never issued in the case.

A hang-up 911 call on Sept. 2 led RCMP to Amber's body and officers arrested Coward, who was located outside of the vehicle.

Coward, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in the girl's death.

The case has been put over until Nov. 3.

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