Parents of baby who died suddenly say they were made to feel like murderers

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Wiley Ryder Adams, six months old, of Kensington was found unresponsive in his parents' bed at 3 a.m. Nov. 16. He was pronounced dead at Prince County Hospital an hour later.

Coroner releases report on death of six-month-old Wiley Ryder Adams

The chief coroner has ruled the sudden death of a baby boy in November was the result of sudden unexpected death in infancy.

“The cause of death is undetermined and the manner of death is undetermined,’’ Dr. Charles Trainor said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Trainor says the autopsy of six-month-old Wiley Ryder Adams states no obvious anatomical cause of death was found. The toxicology report was also negative.

However, the scene investigation carried out by the RCMP forensic unit and the Kensington Police uncovered a number of risk factors, including cigarette smoking and bed sharing.

Trainor says the baby was in bed with his parents. The parents awoke around 3 a.m. on Nov. 16 and found the infant unresponsive. The infant was rushed to the Prince County Hospital where he could not be resuscitated.

Trainor concludes that because risk factors were found in the scene, this was not a SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) death.

“This is a sudden unexplained death in infancy (SUDI), which is death of an infant under one year of age where the autopsy does not identify a cause of death, but the investigation (examination of the scene, the police investigation, review of clinical history) reveals positive findings,’’ says Trainor in his coroner’s statement.

“These findings do not definitely establish a cause of death, but exclude the diagnosis of SIDS.’’

Trainor cautioned that bed sharing where the infant is in bed with the adults is a very dangerous practice.

“I urge all parents and caregivers to avoid this practice when caring for infants,’’ he said.

“We have a SIDS/SUDI death every one to two years in the province,’’ added Trainor. “These deaths are very tragic to the families and to society. Removing all risk factors will lower the rate of SIDS/SIDU in our province.’’

The parents could not be reached for comment, but the baby’s father gave an interview to The Guardian last month that the newspaper is reporting now for the first time.

Nathan McKellar, 40, spoke on how the deep grief over the sudden death of his son was more than excruciating enough for him and his long-time girlfriend Angie Adams. Undergoing heavy interrogation from police and enduring public wrath, he added, has made the ordeal practically unbearable.

“The people that know us know that we loved our son and know we didn’t do it. We have a lot of support but we still have a lot of people looking at us.’’ Nathan McKellar, Wiley's father

McKellar says he and Angie Adams cherished their six-month-old son. The pair had tried for a long time to have a baby and little Wiley was a true joy in their lives.

“He was beautiful,’’ says McKellar.

The world of early parenthood came crashing down for the pair on Nov. 16.

McKellar says his girlfriend woke him up saying something was wrong with their baby. Wiley was not breathing.

McKellar says he tried to resuscitate his son.

With the shock over their baby’s death very raw, the Kensington police treated the pair to what McKellar describes as a brutal interrogation. Separated by police, both McKellar and Adams were questioned for more than 16 hours.

“They were questioning us like it was a murder,’’ he said.

Police then took the couple to a hotel for two days while the apartment was, in McKellar’s view, turned into a crime scene. He says the RCMP forensic unit removed blankets, pillows, sheets and toys.

“I know we didn’t have anything to do with it," he said. "I know we had nothing to do with the death of our son.’’

Trainor says investigating the sudden death of an infant requires a thorough process.

“The police have to do a scene investigation,’’ he told The Guardian. “There are all kinds of questions that have to be asked.’’

McKellar says since the tragedy, each time he and his girlfriend are out in public they have been made to feel like evil people who have each committed an unspeakable act.

“You live in a small town we get the looks all the time,’’ he says.

“The people that know us know that we loved our son and know we didn’t do it. We have a lot of support but we still have a lot of people looking at us.’’

Kensington Police Chief Lewie Sutherland said he would make his final comments on the case next week.

Organizations: Prince County Hospital

Geographic location: Kensington, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • RUSSELL M SMITH
    January 18, 2014 - 17:50

    I KNOW THAT THE RCMP HAVE TO LOOK INTO EVERY DEATH LIKE THIS AS A POSSIBLE CRIME AND OTHERS IN THE PAST HAVE BEEN TREATED LIKE THIS WHEN A CRIME HAS NOT BEEN COMMITTED AND THE POLICE SHOULD APOLIZIE TO THE FAMILY IN QUESTION TO FOSTER BETTER RELATIONS AND REMOVE DOUBT FROM THE PUBLIC.

  • Doing what is expected of them
    January 18, 2014 - 16:08

    Human deaths are considered suspect until proven otherwise,especially with the RCMP, and most police forces follow that principle.In a case like this where the cause is puzzling to experienced medical and forensicly trained personnel time is on their side..they are just doing their job.The resulting grief is normal,

    • Trish1964
      January 21, 2014 - 11:03

      Funny I always thought you were innocent till proven guilty when did this change ?

  • peibossman
    January 18, 2014 - 08:53

    more than 16 hours of questioning? that seems a "bit much"...

  • Ronnie Mac
    January 18, 2014 - 08:43

    What people are overlooking is that "the Kensington Police uncovered a number of risk factors, including cigarette smoking and bed sharing." This is not a SIDS death because they discovered risk factors in the home. Cigarette smoking indoors greatly increases the risk of SUDI. Smokers who also sleep with infants also greatly increases the risk of SUDI. I'm not sure why most people on this thread are ignoring the smoking issue, which could be a key factor in this tragic situation.

  • Momoftwo
    January 18, 2014 - 08:10

    While I agree it is truly heartbreaking what the family had to go through and I could never imagine the pain they have felt and are still feeling. I do think it is silly for people to think that the police are some heartless monsters. If a baby dies suddenly, are they just supposed to assume it is SIDS? They need to investigate because some babies that pass away suddenly are victims of abuse, as if you didn't read the initial report there were other children in this household. I would expect it of our police to look into the situation, and come to a professional conclusion the way they are trained to! Yes it must have been extremely hard to cooperate when you are trying to come to terms with what has happened and new time to grieve, but maybe people shouldn't be so quick to bash these people who were doing their jobs!

  • Reality Check
    January 18, 2014 - 08:02

    The bottom line here is that there was a suspicious death. The Police need to investigate this as if it were a natural death, suicide, homicide, etc. The fact that this was a 6 month old baby is irrelevant. A suspicious death is suspicious and therefore needs to be properly investigated regardless of age of the deceased. I wonder if the parents would have wanted the police to investigate as thoroughly as they did if the baby had died at someone else's home? I believe that the parents would be crying for police to investigate if the baby had died at another residence or while under the care of a babysitter. If the Police simply said "oh the parents are here so it must have been a natural death" just imagine how many people would get away with foul play.

  • Concerned
    January 18, 2014 - 08:02

    While a heartbreaking loss people should reconsider the safe care of small infants. The rationale that "I used to...and my baby is okay" is not a sound argument. Also, saying you read an article online supporting your view doesn't go far either, there are so many opinions online that people can always find someone willing to tell them what they want to hear. Take a step back and try to be logical, the safest place for a small infant is in a current crib with only a fitted sheet and warm well fitting sleepers. No toys, no bumpers, etc until they are much older and able to protect their own little airways better. I get the emotional need behind the desire to co-sleep but to think that you know for certain you won't roll on an infant is highly ignorant thinking. Want your baby close because you are nervous with a newborn / young infant? Put a current & safe bassinet or crib next to your bed.

  • Reality Check
    January 18, 2014 - 08:01

    The bottom line here is that there was a suspicious death. The Police need to investigate this as if it were a natural death, suicide, homicide, etc. The fact that this was a 6 month old baby is irrelevant. A suspicious death is suspicious and therefore needs to be properly investigated regardless of age of the deceased. I wonder if the parents would have wanted the police to investigate as thoroughly as they did if the baby had died at someone else's home? I believe that the parents would be crying for police to investigate if the baby had died at another residence or while under the care of a babysitter. If the Police simply said "oh the parents are here so it must have been a natural death" just imagine how many people would get away with foul play.

  • Jane Doe
    January 18, 2014 - 05:44

    There is more to each side than what has been let out to the media. There always is. There was reason as to why the parents had to be questioned when the baby was found unresponsive even though in the end there was no cause of death found. It's all part of a thorough investigation that needs to happen.

  • Neil
    January 18, 2014 - 03:14

    Leave it to the PEI government, and the police, to take a horrible experience for these parents and make it much much worse for them.

  • Please take note
    January 18, 2014 - 00:42

    This poor family has been through enough. I know it would be tearing them up inside and I know what Kensington would be like I make it even harden on them. But to make matters worse the papers and news made it seem like they were at fault. Everyone seems to forget that the same news you are reading now is the same news that indirectly with a headline made it seem like they were at fault. And when he father gave a statement a month ago to the papers why was it not published then. Hmmmm let me think. tryin to sell news with a headline that made the mother and father of this poor little baby an grieving family seen like the parents were he bad people. Shame on you to the news and papers. And if the police did interrogate them for thAt lenght of time shame on them too. God rest the little fellas sole and I hope the parents find strength to get through this.

  • Camille Labchuk
    January 17, 2014 - 22:25

    I find it completely shocking that the PEI government actually issued a news release implying that the baby sleeping in bed with his parents was somehow problematic. That isn't even supported by the most current research, yet it leaves the impression among readers that the parents may still somehow be responsible. Not only does this revictimize the grieving parents, it may even be defamatory. Do the Coroner and government want a lawsuit? A full and fast apology might be a good idea.

  • Rob
    January 17, 2014 - 21:54

    They did not have to answer any questions at all, let alone allow themselves to be interrogated for 16 hours. A simple "I exercise my charter right to remain silent and I also exercise my charter right for access to a lawyer. In addition they could have ask on what grounds were they being detained, and if they were not being detained (on something that was tangible to cause the police to believe that something criminal occurred) then they could have simply walked out of the station. Exercising your charter rights does not give the police any grounds to imply guilt of anything. To put up with such treatment after the lose of their child must have been so terrible for these parents.

  • My prayers are with this family
    January 17, 2014 - 21:40

    Most parents have taken their babies to bed with them on at least one occasion, especially when you are exhausted and need some rest.My husband and I did it often. We enjoyed having our babies close to us and that special bonding time. This is a very unfortunate situation for the mom and dad in this case. Please leave them alone and do not judge them. Be honest with yourself. It could have happened to any one of us! It could have also happened if the darling little boy was in his crib. They need love and support to get through this difficult time, not criticism. Here is a great article from Dr. Sears who was once against co-sleeping until they had a baby who wasn't a good sleeper. Well worth reading. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes

  • Disgusted
    January 17, 2014 - 21:03

    I have never been so disgusted at the Kensington Police. Their behaviour ov er the last few years has been nothing but unprofessional. Wise up! This should never have been reported in the first place. These parents were in grief over losing their child and it was made so much worse by the inept handling of the police and press. Way to go idiots!!

    • Joe Blow from Rustico
      January 17, 2014 - 21:45

      What do mean "this should never have even been reported"? Are you serious? This is a premature death of an infant and it should be investigated very thoroughly, which the police did. Have some respect.... I'm sure that it wasn't easy for the police to ask these parents questions about the recent death of their child but it has to be done. There is probably more to the story than you even know, so perhaps you should think before you start running your mouth off.

    • me
      January 17, 2014 - 22:13

      they just doing there job

    • To disgusted
      January 18, 2014 - 08:24

      What did you or your family member get charged with??????? ...... Much more to this story.........

  • From One Islander to another
    January 17, 2014 - 21:00

    My Brother had died from SIDS in his crib...He would have been 57 years old this Sept....I have purchased at Toys R Us a device that goes under the crib mattress that if a child does go into a deep sleep or for whatever reason stops breathing the alarm will sound and it has proven to work on one night when my grandson went into a deep sleep and the alarm went off ...thank God we got to him when we did...so if you are like me or any other Mom/Dad out there that checks on your child often this might be just what you need....For this couple Please Please remember the good times you shared with your little boy and cherish them and for all you people that are so quick to judge them put yourself in their shoes ...you probably have done the same thing on a very tired night when you both just wanted to snuggle with your child and fell asleep...we are all guilty of it so don't point fingers...they can't take that night back so PLEASE let them be...let them grieve....God Bless you both and May he have his arms around you in days to come...

    • Concerned
      January 18, 2014 - 07:53

      While rare those AngelCare monitors (that go under the mattress) have been know to cause strangulation deaths in older infants due to the cords sadly.

  • earl
    January 17, 2014 - 19:45

    hmmmm. that is all

  • Islander
    January 17, 2014 - 19:05

    Do not worry about anyone and their looks you know you did nothing wrong and that is all that matters grieve for your baby and let the ones looking and making judgement take the log out of their own eye. I do not know you but my heart aches for you both heartache and pain is an awful thing.

  • jenny
    January 17, 2014 - 18:39

    A total lack of compassion and class shown by the Kensington Police force!

  • Ashamed
    January 17, 2014 - 16:47

    I really feel for this couple, the initial stories published and broadcast about this incident DID make it seem like this was a murder or a child abuse situation. Way to go to the MEDIA reporters who initially covered this... Do you know what you have done to this Couple... wasn't it bad enough this couple lost their son, the damage you have caused them can never be reversed!!!

  • KC
    January 17, 2014 - 15:42

    Co sleeping and bed sharing are 2 different things.

  • Cara
    January 17, 2014 - 14:45

    I have had a baby die from SIDS. Studies show that co sleeping is a huge factor in reducing SIDS . I have my research and have been told by many doctors that coalescing helps prevent SIDS !!!!

    • Krista
      January 17, 2014 - 22:01

      I'm not quite sure this is true. Co sleeping helps promote successful breastfeeding, which helps reduce SIDS. However co sleeping without meeting certain criteria can definitely increase the risk of SIDS. This poor family. I couldn't imagine how absolutely difficult this is for them. Such a tragedy. I hope people realize how hard this is on them and to not make it more difficult by judging them.

    • Krista
      January 17, 2014 - 22:01

      I'm not quite sure this is true. Co sleeping helps promote successful breastfeeding, which helps reduce SIDS. However co sleeping without meeting certain criteria can definitely increase the risk of SIDS. This poor family. I couldn't imagine how absolutely difficult this is for them. Such a tragedy. I hope people realize how hard this is on them and to not make it more difficult by judging them.