PEI

Deaths of woman, 9-year-old girl considered homicide-suicide: police

Charlottetown police say they are investigating the deaths of a 47-year-old woman and her nine-year-old daughter as a homicide-suicide.

Bodies were found in a Sherwood home overnight Friday

Charlottetown police say they believe the deaths of a woman and her nine-year-old daughter are a homicide-suicide. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Charlottetown police say they are investigating the deaths of a 47-year-old woman and her nine-year-old daughter as a homicide-suicide.

Police found their bodies in a Sherwood home at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell said during a news briefing Monday. Police said a family member who was concerned about the daughter had contacted police and asked them to check the woman's duplex.

"That wellness check resulted in the tragic discovery of the two," MacConnell said.

When police officers arrived at the duplex, MacConnell said, they looked through the window and saw a woman lying on the floor. 

When they entered the house, they immediately realized there was a noxious substance in the air, MacConnell said. It was later determined to be high levels of carbon monoxide from a charcoal substance.

The Charlottetown fire department was called to the scene and cleared the area.

"Upon further investigation, the remains were located," MacConnell said.

Waiting for autopsy results

Police are awaiting the results of autopsies that were conducted Sunday in Nova Scotia before definitively giving a cause of death, however at this point they believe it was from carbon monoxide. He said the girl died first, perhaps even two to three days earlier.

The Charlottetown Police Services major crime unit and forensic unit are collecting evidence and interviewing people.

Charlottetown Deputy police Chief Brad MacConnell says investigators are not looking for any suspects in the case, but want to interview anyone who may have spoken to the woman or daughter last week. (Ken Linton/CBC)

MacConnell said they are withholding the names and asked people to respect the family's privacy, though he acknowledged that many in the community are aware of the names.

He said the girl's father, who did not live at the home, and other next of kin have been notified.

They are asking anyone who had contact with the woman or her daughter last week to contact police.

"I want to emphasize that we are not seeking anyone in relation to this incident other than potential witnesses," MacConnell said. 

'Mental-health crisis'

MacConnell said police had a previous call to the residence in the spring relating to the mental health of the mother.

"If I had to express a takeaway from this interview, it would be that we do have a mental-health crisis in our nation, in our province and in our city and that really needs to be the focus of the incident.

"And certainly the tragic loss of this nine-year-old."

Help line information:

Anyone needing emotional support, crisis intervention or help with problem solving in P.E.I. can contact The Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information about mental health services on P.E.I., find resources from Health PEI here, or from the Canadian Mental Health Association P.E.I. Division here.

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