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Man charged in connection with B.C. toddler's death from snake venom

Snake
Snake sticking its tongue out (via Shutterstock)

A 51-year-old man from Agassiz has been arrested in connection with the death of a two-year-old child from North Vancouver, who police allege died as a result of poisoning from a snake bite.

Henry Thomas of Seabird Island, Agassiz, was arrested Friday at his home and has been charged with “failing to provide the necessaries of life” under the criminal code.

The death of the toddler that led to the charge happened more than four-and-a-half years ago.

RCMP said in a statement that Thomas had a two-year-old girl in his care on May 18, 2014 and returned the child to her mother’s home in North Vancouver in the early morning hours of that day.

At 5 a.m. the following day, May 19, 2014, the mother phoned the police to tell them her daughter had died.

According to RCMP, a lengthy and in-depth police investigation followed, involving assistance from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

In July 2015, police raided Thomas’s Agassiz home under a search warrant, where “snakes and related equipment were seized.”

Police said further biological DNA testing was conducted in 2016 and 2017 confirming that the girl had died of poisoning by snake venom.

“This is a very tragic incident that resulted in a complex, unique investigation by police and support agencies,” said Supt. Chris Kennedy, Officer in Charge of the North Vancouver RCMP, in a news release.

Police have not released any further information about the investigation.

- Jane Syed, North Shore News