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2 women charged with attempted murder in Edmonton child abuse investigation

2 women charged with attempted murder in Edmonton child abuse investigation
WATCH ABOVE: Two women have been charged with a combined 26 offences, including attempted murder, after five children were taken out of what police called an "abusive home" in Edmonton. Nancy Carlson has the details.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The charges of attempted murder against the two women were amended to aggravated assault charges in August 2018.

READ MORE: 2 women accused in Edmonton child abuse case no longer charged with attempted murder

A number of charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault, have been laid against two women after five children were taken out of what Edmonton police called an “abusive home.”

Det. Aubrey Zalaski with the Edmonton Police Service Child Protection Section said Wednesday the children are safe thanks to the actions of a babysitter.

On Dec. 16, police responded to a home in northeast Edmonton to check on the welfare of five children. The children, all under the age of 10, were found in “a shocking environment and physical state,” Zalaski said.

All five children were taken to the Stollery Children’s Hospital for treatment. Three of the children were treated and released, while two were admitted with serious injuries, police said.

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The two who were admitted to hospital have since been released.

“The children have been placed in safe environments and they’re doing really well at this time,” Zalaski said. “They’re receiving a lot of care and there is a lot of follow-up care that they’ll still be receiving.”

No specifics about the children’s injuries were provided, but Zalaski said the five would have been in a much worse state if it weren’t for the babysitter calling police.

“Her actions are to be commended and we are so grateful that she did the right thing.

“We don’t know how much worse things would have gotten if she hadn’t made a report.”

Det. Aubrey Zalaski speaks to the media about a child abuse case in Edmonton that lead to 26 charges, including attempted murder.
Det. Aubrey Zalaski speaks to the media about a child abuse case in Edmonton that lead to 26 charges, including attempted murder. Geoff Stickle/Global News

Two women who live in the home are now facing a total of 26 charges. Police said the women were known to the children and were responsible for their care.

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A 23-year-old woman is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, five counts of unlawful confinement and two counts each of abandonment of a child, criminal negligence and assault with a weapon.

A 24-year-old woman is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, five counts of unlawful confinement and two counts each of abandonment of a child, duty to provide necessities of life and criminal negligence.

The women’s names will not be released in order to protect the children’s identity.

Charges were initially laid on Dec. 18. Zalaski said police didn’t release that information to the media until now to “protect the integrity of the investigation.”

“Before this point in time, we were not prepared to release anything pending the completion of those tasks.”

The EPS is monitoring social media for posts threatening any violence against the two accused, Zalaski said. He wouldn’t comment on whether there were any open investigations into any such comments, but said the EPS would not tolerate the activity and would investigate any threats if they were deemed to be serious in nature.

Support for child abuse victims

A representative from the Zebra Protection Centre was on hand at the news conference to speak about the type of care available to anyone in a child-abuse situation.

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“It’s imperative for our community to know that when a child discloses abuse, or abuse is discovered, that that child will be kept safe and supported by a multi-disciplinary team who exists to advocate for the best interests of that child throughout the entire process,” Becci Watson said.

Becci Watson of the Zebra Protection Centre speaks to media about the supports child abuse victims receive.
Becci Watson of the Zebra Protection Centre speaks to media about the supports child abuse victims receive. Geoff Stickle/Global News

While Watson couldn’t speak specifically to the care the victims in this case may be receiving, she said they see children bounce back every day from horrible situations.

“Children who have suffered abuse begin to heal and their resiliency shows through in their laughter echoing throughout the centre, their courage to tell their story and even the jokes and stories they tell as they play.”

Anyone who suspects a child may be in need of intervention can report it to the Edmonton Police Service or Crime Stoppers.

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