Toronto

Stepmother charged in Brampton boy's death

The wife of a Brampton, Ont., man who is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of his 10-year-old son has now been charged with manslaughter.
Nichelle Rowe Boothe, 28, and Garfield Boothe, 31, appeared in court yesterday. Both are charged in the death of 10-year-old Shakeil Boothe. (Alex Tavshunsky/CBC)

Boy's death leaves neighbours stunned

A few doors down from where 10-year-old Shakeil Boothe was found dead on Friday, neighbours remembered him as a shy, polite boy.

"[He was] very thin and wasn't well dressed," crossing guard Tawnya King told CBC's Jasmine Seputis. King said she had not seen Shakeil since last year.

"I am not sure if he was home-schooled, he was never out playing with the other children at all," she said.  

The boy was found dead on Friday in the Brampton, Ont., house where he lived with his father and stepmother, both of whom are now facing charges in his death.

Dan Greig lived next door to the family and socialized with Shakeil's father, Garfield Boothe.

"He was here all the time, we were having beers together. Never thought to even ask him where his son was. So I thought like he's a shy little boy, but he's very polite."      

In hindsight, Greig believes there were signs that something wasn't right with Shakeil.

"I seen him out here in the wintertime in a pair of shoes too big for him and he had no gloves on and no jacket and he was frozen."

Greig said Boothe told him he brought Shakeil to Canada from Jamaica two years ago to have a better life. The boy's father recently had a baby with Shakeil's stepmother, neighbours told CBC News.

Greig said he now regrets not asking more questions.        

"I wish I had done something like knocked on the door or anything."

The wife of a Brampton, Ont., man who is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of his 10-year-old son has now been charged with manslaughter.

Nichelle Rowe Boothe, 28, was formally charged on Tuesday morning in connection with the death of Shakeil Boothe, her stepson.

The boy's father, Garfield Boothe, 31, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in his son's death and also faces one count of failing to provide the necessities of life.

Nichelle Boothe appeared in court on Tuesday. Her bail hearing is set for June 8 and she is prohibited from having contact with her husband.

Garfield Boothe also made a court appearance on Tuesday. He was not granted bail and his next scheduled court appearance is set for June 14 via video link.

"Obviously he's upset, he's grieving the loss of his son," Boothe's lawyer Luc Leclaire said outside the courthouse on Tuesday.

The boy was found dead Friday in a house on Homeland Court, located in the Dixie Road and Howden Drive area of Brampton.

The investigation began Friday when police responded to a 911 call shortly after 5 p.m. and found the child unresponsive in the home.

The boy was declared dead at the scene. Police said an autopsy was conducted on Saturday. Results have not been released.

Police have been canvassing the neighbourhood where the couple lived as part of their investigation. The Boothes have an eight-month-old baby.  

Staff at Hanover Public School, where Shakeil was a student, said the boy's father withdrew him from school in January.

With files from Stephanie Matteis

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