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Ontario parents facing 1st degree murder charges in death of 12-year-old: police

A pair of Burlington, Ont., parents have been charged with first-degree murder, more than a year after the death of a 12-year-old, police say.

Investigators say the charges against the two “prospective adoptive parents” dates back to a December 2022 emergency call to a residence involving a child without vital signs.

Upon arrival around 7:30 p.m., Halton police say officers located a dead youth in the home.

The guardians at the time, Brandy Cooney, 42, of Hamilton and Becky Hamber, 44, of Burlington, were arrested and charged on Thursday following a lengthy 14-month probe by a child abuse unit, detectives say.


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Each is also facing a charge of failing to provide the necessities of life.

Both were charged in January 2023 in a separate case tied to a sibling of the deceased who also lived in the home.

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In that occurrence, the couple were accused of assaults, forcible confinement, failing to provide the necessities of life and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Halton Children’s Aid Society says the deceased was an Indigenous child and offered their “profound thoughts and condolences” to family and the  Indigenous community.

The agency confirmed the case started an internal review via an independent third party of child safety and adherence to standards.

“We have been absolutely committed to learning everything we can about what happened in this case. We are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation by Halton Regional Police Service,” executive director Janice Robinson said.

“We want to reiterate that our priority is always the safety and well-being of the children in our care, and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that they are protected and supported.”

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