Saskatchewan

Woman charged in 2018 death of 3-year-old girl ran home daycare: lawyer

Regina police say a 33-year-old woman has been charged in connection with the 2018 death of a three-year-old child, Zoey Hancock.

33-year-old Ashley Dawn Longworth charged in death of Zoey Hancock

Fred Hancock, Zoey's grandfather, says he wishes he could have been there to protect his granddaughter the day she died. (Supplied by Fred Hancock)

Regina police say a manslaughter charge has been laid against a 33-year-old woman in the 2018 death of three-year-old Zoey Hancock.

On Wednesday afternoon, police announced that Ashley Dawn Longworth has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the child's death.

"Know who's looking after your children. Do a background search," Fred Hancock, the grandfather of Zoey, said Wednesday evening.

Hancock said the family has been waiting to get answers since the day Zoey died. But, after 22 months, he is pleased with the charges.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster. It's affected our lives. It has affected my work," he said. "It's affected us in in every single aspect of our life."

Hancock said he thinks there should be stricter regulations for daycares and day homes.

Fred Hancock is urging parents to research and know who is looking after their children. Zoey Hancock died in 2018. Nearly two years later a manslaughter charge has been laid. (Supplied by Fred Hancock)

"I believe it's too easy for daycares and day homes to pop up out of nowhere," Hancock said.

Zoey's mother still has days where the death seems like it happened yesterday, the grandfather explained.

"She'll never be the same," Hancock said of his daughter.

"Hopefully the charges bring peace and resolution to the entire family," said Kayla DeMars-Krentz, a lawyer for the girl's family.

"It's been a horrific two years waiting for something to simply start, so it's been very difficult for them."

DeMars-Krentz said Hancock was at a home daycare run by Longworth when the incident occurred. 

2018

First responders were called to a home on the 100 block of Montreal Street on March 20, 2018, where Zoey Hancock was found unconscious around 9:30 a.m. CST.

EMS administered emergency care to the child and transported her to hospital where she was pronounced dead later that day. Police were subsequently called to investigate.

Longworth is set to appear in provincial court in Regina on Wednesday. She has been released on conditions including that she keep the peace and be of good behaviour, that she report to a bail supervisor and that she maintain a residence in Regina.

DeMars-Krentz said there are also strict conditions on her use of social media and against contacting the girl's family.

With files from Bryan Eneas and Alicia Bridges