Edmonton

Edmonton mother charged with murder in meth overdose of 11-day-old daughter

A 31-year-old Edmonton woman has been charged with murder in connection with the death of her 11-day-old daughter.

Police say the baby had a lethal dose of methamphetamine in her body when she died

Michelle Rice, 31, updated her Facebook profile on March 21 with this picture. (Facebook)

A Edmonton mother has been charged with murder in the drug-related death of her 11-day-old daughter.

The baby died from a lethal dose of methamphetamine, police say.

Police have refused to identify the baby, citing privacy legislation. But sources told CBC News the child's name is Eliana Mikayla Rice.

On March 29, police received a call about a baby who had stopped breathing. Officers responded to an address near 72nd Street and 83rd Avenue in the Kenilworth neighbourhood.

Paramedics then transported the baby to hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

The medical examiner's office conducted an autopsy and toxicology tests to confirm the cause of death. The medical examiner's office contacted the police homicide section on April 6.

Michelle Rice, 31, was arrested Thursday and has been charged with second-degree murder.

Based on toxicology tests, the medical examiner determined the baby had a lethal dose of methamphetamine in her body when she died.

"From the medical examiner, our understanding [is] that level of methamphetamine couldn't have been administered, that lethal dose, through a woman's breast milk specifically," said Edmonton police spokesperson Scott Pattison.

Toxicology tests in such cases are complex and can take six to nine months to complete. Pattison said he was surprised the results in this case came back so quickly.

"I think they were definitive," he said.

Police said Thursday the homicide detectives on the case want to speak with family members, friends or neighbours who visited the mother's home between March 18 and March 29.

"We understand that there were a bunch of people coming to visit this mother and her newborn child," Pattison said. "Investigators would like to speak with all of those people to further their evidence and progress this investigation."

Rice, who was not known to police, also has a young son, who was unharmed. The boy is now being cared for by a family member, he said.

Rice will be in court on Monday for a bail hearing.

Edmonton has had 17 homicides this year.