By Marianne Curtis
A woman from Stuartburn is facing charges of second degree murder after the death of her four year old daughter.
The charges were laid after RCMP were contacted by the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg when the four year old Dillon Belanger was brought into the hospital by ambulance on October 24 in critical condition.
According to police the child had sustained severe injuries from an alleged assault. The child later died in hospital.
Thirty-two year old Mary Joana Belanger, the little girl’s mother, was arrested and charged with second degree murder after an initial investigation by the Winnipeg RCMP Major Crimes Unit. She is also charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.
“It’s tragic,” said RCMP spokesman Const. Miles Hiebert of the incident. “As a parent, our hearts and thoughts are with the family and we’ll do everything in our power to help the town get through this.”
Morris and Emerson RCMP are continuing to investigate the incident with assistance from the major crimes unit and the forensic identification section.
faces charges of second-degree murder, Many in the community were shocked by the death and said the family had only moved into the community about two weeks ago from Ontario.
Wayne Yatsko lives right across the road from the family’s home.
“I never saw the kids. I seen her once going to the mailbox and she smiled and waved at me, but that’s about it,” says Yatsko.
Neighbour Bob Kehler adds that the incident was “unspeakable and unbelievable.”
“In this area, it’s unreal,” Kehler told media.
The victim’s thirteen year old sister and eighteen month old brother who resided in the home were removed by Child and Family Services.
In response to this tragedy, Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh has stated that investigations into the child’s death will be done by both the Children’s Advocate and Child and Family Services.
Mackintosh admitted that the Belanger family had “some historic involvements with child welfare agencies” in both Manitoba and Ontario.