Police lay manslaughter charge following child’s death
Published Monday, April 6, 2020 9:18AM CST Last Updated Monday, April 6, 2020 6:02PM CST
WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Police Service has charged a woman with manslaughter following the death of a toddler last month.
Victoria Reane Thiessen, 20, was charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Brett White, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy. Police say Thiessen is White’s stepmother.
Constable Rob Carver with the Winnipeg Police Service says investigators were shocked about the case.
“It’s tragic on so many levels,” he said during a Monday morning news conference. “It’s hard on investigators for sure, but it touches all sorts of people. It touches the family, it touches the community.”
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services was called to the 100 block of Snowdon Avenue on March 24 for reports of an injured toddler. The toddler was transported to hospital in critical condition and passed away on March 26.
Carver said the child’s injuries were not consistent with the explanation provided by the boy’s caregiver.
“One was the child had fallen, the other was that he may have been struck by a sibling who was four years old,” Carver said.
“The examination concluded that neither of those explanations would have accounted for the seriousness of the injury or the mechanism of the injury.”
The police service’s child abuse unit was alerted and began investigating. An arrest occurred on April 3.
Thiessen is in custody. The charge against her has not been tested in court.
Allison White said her grandson was caring and loved his sisters. He also loved getting hugs and cuddles.
"Everyone who met him fell in love with him," White said in an online message.
"He had a great sense of humour and loved to laugh."
Jessica White, the toddler's aunt, said Brett was a happy-go-lucky kind of kid.
"He could never fail to put a smile on anybody's face when he walked into a room, he was just so filled with joy all the time," said Jessica.
She added Brett will never be forgotten and he will always be loved by their entire family.
The family has been devastated by the death and not being able to get together due to restrictions to stop the spread the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult, especially on the boy's parents.
The toddler's great-grandmother has started a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses. The family said any extra funds will be donated to a cause involving abused children.
- With files from the Canadian Press