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Bonavista woman charged with manslaughter in son’s 2017 death in Hamilton

. SaltWire Network file photo

Hamilton Police have charged a 39-year-old Bonavista woman with the 2017 death of her four-year-old son in Hamilton, Ontario.

Lisa Strickland was arrested in Bonavista on Wednesday after members of the Hamilton police travelled to the town and were assisted by the Bonavista detachment of the RCMP.

Strickland has been charged with manslaughter and made a brief appearance in Clarenville provincial court Thursday morning before being escorted back to Ontario. Strickland then appeared at Hamilton’s John Sopinka Court House today and was remanded into custody.

According to a news release, on Sept. 27, 2017, Hamilton Police were called around 8:55 a.m. to a residence on 56 Idelwood Dr. in Hamilton in response to a 911 call regarding an unresponsive child.

Police and EMS arrived within minutes to find four-year-old Kane Driscoll deceased. As with any death involving a child under the age of five, the investigation was assigned to the force’s major crime unit.

The initial investigation showed no signs of foul play and Kane’s parents were co-operative with the investigation. Kane was born with a number of medical issues resulting in several major operations and many months of hospitalization. In September 2017, it appeared that Kane had overcome the worst of his challenges and he had recently started junior kindergarten.

A post-mortem was conducted on Kane the following day and the preliminary results showed no anatomical cause of death. Toxicology tests were ordered as a matter of protocol in all sudden deaths. In December 2017, investigators were notified that the toxicology results showed a lethal dose of drugs within Kane’s system.

A case conference was held on Dec. 17, 2017, and the cause of death was deemed as a result of drug poisoning. At this time, Kane’s death was ruled as criminal and a homicide investigation commenced. For strategic and investigative purposes, investigators chose not to announce Kane’s death as a homicide after receiving the toxicology results.

On Feb. 6, Kane’s parents were notified as to the cause of death and advised they were suspects in their son’s death. They both sought legal advice and refused to co-operate further with the investigation.

The initial investigation focused on interviewing witnesses and identifying where the particular drug had originated. During the course of the investigation, 48 judicial authorizations were obtained and executed. These mainly pertained to the medical records of both parents and Kane. The medical documents were lengthy and were reviewed by medical specialists.

Over the course of the investigation, investigators formed reasonable grounds to charge Strickland.

At the time it was also learned that Strickland was pregnant. The Hamilton Children’s Aid Society (CAS) was notified and briefed about the ongoing investigation. As a result, CAS decided to apprehend the newborn and notified area hospitals to alert them when Lisa Strickland delivered the baby.

In October 2018, the Hamilton CAS discovered that Strickland had left for Newfoundland and delivered the baby there. When the information came to the attention of the Hamilton CAS, they notified their counterparts from the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development in Newfoundland and Labrador and arranged for the baby to be apprehended.

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