Calgary father remembers fatally injured toddler as 'daddy's little buddy' and waits for answers from RCMP

Craig Morrison says when his two-year-old daughter Brielle was fatally injured, she was in the middle of a two-week stint at her mother's home.

Brielle Morrison died in her father's arms after being taken off life support

Brielle Morrison died in hospital after suffering a head injury. RCMP major crimes unit is investigating. (Craig Morrison)

The father of a toddler who was fatally injured in Cardston, Alta., while in the custody of her mother says he wants to know what happened to his daughter — as police continue to investigate.

Craig Morrison said when his two-year-old daughter, Brielle, was injured, she was in the middle of a two-week stint with her mother, Christy Melvin — a woman who Alberta Justice confirmed was convicted years earlier after throwing a newborn baby in the trash.

Morrison said his ex told him she was at work when the girl was injured, and her boyfriend was babysitting.

"In my heart, I hope it was an accident," said Morrison. "I just want to know what happened to her."

Morrison is still trying to accept that his daughter is gone. He said his daughter was obsessed with parks, loved freezies, sharing a stir-fry from Edo and sleeping beside her tea-cup yorkie, Romeo, which the toddler pronounced "Romo."

RCMP would only say its major crimes unit is investigating the girl's death but would not confirm who was caring for the child when she was injured. They have not yet released details of her injuries publicly nor the preliminary results of the autopsy performed in Calgary.

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CBC News asked Melvin for an interview but she had yet to respond by the time of publication.

Brielle Morrison walks her beloved dog Romeo

5 years ago
Duration 0:16
The two-year-old died four days after she was airlifted to the children's hospital in Calgary earlier this month.

Taken off life support

Brielle was airlifted to the children's hospital in Calgary on Aug. 2. She died in her father's arms four days later, on Monday, after being taken off life support.

The RCMP's major crimes unit confirmed it is investigating.

A press release from RCMP confirmed it was the Cardston detachment that was notified of the injured girl.

Morrison lives in Calgary while Melvin lives in Cardston. 

'How could you not notice a fractured skull?'

According to Morrison, Melvin said Brielle was injured when she fell off the bed and hit her head two days before she was taken to hospital.

It wasn't until Brielle had a seizure and stopped breathing that her mother called 911, according to Morrison. 

One of the most frustrating mysteries surrounding his daughter's death is the time between when she was injured and when she was airlifted to hospital, he said.

"When I give her a bath, I notice every little bump bruise and mosquito bite.… How could you not notice a fractured skull?"

Melvin's dead baby found in garbage 

Melvin was 20 in November 2002 when she was convicted in a Lethbridge provincial court of failing to obtain assistance in childbirth and concealing the body of a child, Alberta Justice confirmed to CBC News.

A year earlier, Melvin's newborn baby girl had been found in a garbage bag in an alley. 

An autopsy conducted on the infant determined the baby was likely alive for a short time after her birth but the medical examiner could not definitively determine a cause of death, according to a 2002 Lethbridge Herald report.

Melvin also initially faced an infanticide charge, which was withdrawn after she was sentenced.

The young mother served a sentence of six months in the community followed by 18 months of probation.

Morrison was not the father of the baby and was not dating Melvin at the time.

'Daddy's little buddy'

During the four days that Brielle was in hospital, Morrison refused to leave her side. The nurses brought in a bed for him so he could sleep next to her.

"I went through every emotion from begging and pleading and screaming to trying to laugh," he said. "I lost my mind."

When staff at the hospital took the girl off life support, Morrison said about 25 people who loved Brielle were in the room to say goodbye.

More than an hour after she was unplugged from the machines, Brielle died in her father's arms.

On Thursday, instead of taking his daughter to her favourite place to play (the park) and planning their weekend movie night, Morrison is bringing one of her outfits to the funeral home, trying to plan a service fit for his, "Little Miss Brielle Sunshine."

"She was perfect," said Morrison. "She was daddy's little buddy."


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at or follow her on Twitter.