Top News

UPDATE: Charlottetown woman charged with infanticide worked at family resource centre

Judge gavel
Judge gavel - 123RF Stock Photo

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A woman charged with two counts of infanticide is accused of disposing of her dead children’s bodies in a waste bin.

Court documents state Shannon Dawn Rayner, 39, of Charlottetown willfully failed to obtain medical assistance for a child in 2014 between Feb. 1 2014 and Feb. 28, and again for a second child in 2016 between Nov. 16 and 18.

Shannon Dawn Rayner.
Shannon Dawn Rayner.

In both cases, Rayner is accused of disposing of the dead body of a child with intent to hide the fact that the baby was born by concealing it in a bag and placing it in a waste bin.

Rayner has been charged with two counts of infanticide and two counts of disposing of the dead body of a child with intent to conceal the fact it had been delivered.

Her first court date was Thursday in provincial court in Charlottetown.

She did not attend. The Guardian has learned Rayner is under mental health care.

The conditions of her release are to be of good behaviour, notify Charlottetown Police of any change of address and/or occupation, refrain from having unsupervised care of any children under the age of five and to surrender her passport to Charlottetown Police Services.

Related: Charlottetown woman charged in deaths of two babies

The Guardian has also been able to confirm that Rayner worked at CHANCES, including during the time of her 2016 pregnancy, but was not working there at the time of her arrest.

CHANCES (Caring, Helping, And Nurturing, Children Every Step) is a non-profit, charitable organization, that exists to provide a range of child development and parent support services to children 11 years old and younger and to their families, particularly those experiencing additional life challenges.

The case was adjourned to Aug. 23 for election.

Crown prosecutor Valerie Moore noted Thursday’s court day was too early to completely prepare the file on the case or to provide disclosure to defence.

Moore told the media outside the courtroom infanticide is not a common charge in P.E.I.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a female person commits infanticide when by a wilful act or omission she causes the death of her newly-born child, if at the time of the act or omission she is not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child and by reason thereof or of the effect of lactation consequent on the birth of the child her mind is then disturbed.

Every female person who commits infanticide is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Rayner’s lawyer Thane MacEachern declined to comment on the case.

Police reported earlier this week charges relating to the deaths of two babies resulted from an investigation spanning more than one year.

Charlottetown Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell told The Guardian on Thursday the investigation was sparked by a person in the medical community coming forward last year noting Rayner had been pregnant twice, but did not have any children delivered in hospital.

The investigation is ongoing.

The bodies of the babies have not been found and investigators are trying to determine if they can be recovered.

Recent Stories