Two parents are now in custody in connection with what police are calling a “disturbing case” of child abuse involving two-year-old twin girls found severely malnourished with numerous injuries.
In the early morning of May 25, EMS were called to a south Edmonton residence after receiving a call from the girl’s father, who was at work at the time.
Inside the home, paramedics found one of the girls in cardiac arrest and her twin sister with numerous injuries. Paramedics were able to revive one girl, who had a life-threatening injury to the head, and took them to hospital.
A third child, a young boy around age three, was unharmed and has since been taken into foster care.
At the hospital, physicians found the twin girls were severely malnourished. One girl weighed 13 pounds and her sister weighed 16 pounds, said police.
Both girls are still in hospital, one of them on life support. Given her life-threatening injuries, homicide investigators are now presiding over the file.
Medical professionals found the injuries to both girls were consistent with abuse and contacted city police.
The good news, said police spokesman Scott Pattison, is that one of the girls is already on the road to recovery.
“She’s gaining weight rapidly,” said Pattison. “I believe she’s gained....a kilo and a half of weight, so she’s doing better.”
On Tuesday, cops arrested and charged both of the girls’ parents, who are in their early 30s, with aggravated assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to provide the necessities of life. The names of the accused can not be released to protect the identity of the children.
A police source said the accused were landed immigrants from Algeria and had been here for about three years.
Since the matter is now before the courts, police aren’t releasing further details about the case, but court documents state the offences occurred between February 2010 and May 2012.
Neighbours of the home awoke on the morning of May 25 to the sound of police officers knocking on their door, asking for information about the family.
Mohammed, who did not want to give his last name, lives next door to the home where the family had lived.
He describes the parents as anti-social and said they kept to themselves. They even ignored his mother when she said hello.
Mohammed said he often saw a young boy looking out the window, and once saw a young girl at the home, but he never saw the children playing outside.
Hearing the allegations now surrounding the parents has left Mohammed feeling disgusted.
“When I heard what has happened to the children I was actually disappointed, very upset, not feeling well,” said Mohammed, who believes the family moved in about six months ago. Sometime his sister heard the young boy screaming, which led her to believe something could be wrong, but his mother didn’t take it seriously.
“It’s very disgusting and shocking. We didn’t really suspect something weird was going on. We suspected that they are one of those people who are very closed, people who like to be left alone. They never interacted with anybody.”
Child and family services wasn’t able to comment on whether they had been called to the home in the past or any other details about the case.
The accused will make their next court appearance June 19.