Calgary

Day home worker charged in toddler's death in Silverado

Police have charged a Calgary woman in connection with the death last November of an 18-month-old girl who was being looked after in an unlicensed day home.

Police received a call about a girl who was not breathing at the unlicenced day home

Police have charged a Calgary woman in connection with the death last November of an 18-month-old girl who was being looked after in an unlicensed day home. (CBC)

The 18-month-old girl who died last November after she was found in medical distress at an unlicensed day home had been left alone in a car seat, police say. 

The day home operator is now facing charges. 

Ceira Lynn McGrath was rushed from the day home in the 100 block of Silverado Ridge Cres. S.W. to hospital. She died a short time later.

Investigators with the homicide unit have now determined the death was criminal in nature, police say.

"We believe the infant went into medical distress after being left unattended in a car seat for a prolonged period of time," said Staff Sgt. Doug Andrus with the police homicide unit.

Elmarie Simons, 57, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death. Andrus said she continued to operate the dayhome until she was arrested on Wednesday.

Simons appeared in court Thursday morning and has since been released with conditions. 

Police aren't saying how Ceira died. Investigators brought in a biomechanic expert to look into the relationship between the car seat and the medical distress Ceira suffered. 

It's part of the reason it took police as long as it did to lay charges, Andrus said.

"Our investigations aren't always completed as fast as the community would expect," he acknowledged. "I also understand that they expect us to do a complete and thorough investigation."

Andrus urged parents seeking childcare to "do their due diligence" when researching possible options. 

Anyone with information about the toddler's death is asked to call the homicide unit's tip line at 403-428-8877 or contact Crime Stoppers.

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