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The parents of a toddler who died in Toronto from ingesting deadly drugs in their home last year have been charged, police said on Friday.
Jeremiah Thornton, two, died last September after being rushed to hospital with a seizure.
No body was found at the scene, but police said later that the boy had ingested methamphetamine, morphine and fentanyl. His parents told police that he ingested the drugs while he was at their house, a police statement said.
The boy’s death in suburban Scarborough, Ontario, sparked a public outcry and protests for a “Robin Hood” program in which drug addicts in the neighbourhood, including Jeremiah’s parents, would undergo supervised treatments and be paid for their services.
“Today is a very difficult day for the Thornton family, but it gives us another opportunity to fight for justice for Jeremiah,” district attorney Martin Giesbrecht said in a statement.
Jeremiah’s father, Daniel Cervantes, 32, and mother, Crystal Cervantes, 25, were charged with criminal negligence causing death and two counts of failing to provide the necessaries of life.
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“As the parents of a child who made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of society, we are deeply saddened by Jeremiah’s tragic death and we pray for healing and peace for his family,” Michael Andrew, Cervantes’ lawyer, said in a statement.
The charges against the parents come a day after they appeared in court on separate charges of selling a schedule III controlled substance.
Police said the drug charges related to an investigation that began in November and was led by the Ontario drug unit, which helped in the identification of the four drugs.
Toronto police also charged Matthew Tunkle, a 32-year-old man who the children’s grandfather, Arthur Cervantes, said was a lab technician who had been helping Jeremiah become “as normal as humanly possible”.
“All this comes as a complete shock,” he said.