Toronto man charged after toddler died from eating poisoned cereal, police say

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Toronto police have charged a man after a coroner’s report and investigation revealed a three-year-old girl, who suddenly fell ill and passed away in March, died from eating poisoned cereal.

Police and the Ontario coroner’s office said the man, who was known to the family, had allegedly accessed a controlled substance from where he worked.

The substance was put into a children’s breakfast cereal, police allege.

On March 7, two children ate the cereal during the course of a sleepover.

Read more: Police assist coroner with investigation into 3-year-old Toronto girl’s ‘sudden death’

Both children were hospitalized and one of them died shortly afterwards, police said. The other child recovered after a lengthily hospital stay, police added.

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Through a GoFundMe post, Maurine Mirembe, who said she is the mother of the young girl who died, described her daughter as “full of life” with “lots of love to give.”

The mother went on to write how her daughter “quickly grew weak” and began to vomit shortly after eating breakfast with a friend.

“By the time I rushed to get to her, she was barely breathing, and looking ashen,” she recalled.

Mirembe took her daughter to the hospital. “After multiple resuscitation attempts by the doctors, Bernice was taken off life support,” she wrote.

Read more: 2-year-old girl’s cause of death determined to be blunt force trauma, Toronto police say

On June 19, police arrested 45-year-old Francis Ngugi, a Toronto resident.

Ngugi is facing two counts of administering a noxious substance to endanger life, another two counts of unlawfully causing bodily harm and one charge for criminal negligence causing death.

He appeared at a Toronto courthouse on Sunday.

Police told Global News that the man charged was known to the family.

— with files from Jessica Patton


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