It took four years for charges to be laid in the death of a six-year-old boy on Vancouver Island because of the volume of evidence, RCMP say.
On March 13, 2018, Mounties had been called to a Port Alberni home and found Don-Tay-Patrick Lucas in medical distress. He later died in hospital, and police deemed the death suspicious.
On Saturday, the RCMP announced that Rykel Frank (née Charleson), Don-Tay’s mother, and Mitchell Frank, his stepfather, had been charged with first-degree murder.
Family members and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said they were relieved charges had been laid, but wanted to know why it had taken so long.
“We understand and appreciate the continued cries for answers from the public and from Don-Tay’s family as we turned every stone to follow every investigative avenue,” Const. Richard Johns told a news conference on Monday morning, adding officers reviewed hours of video, spoke with dozens of witnesses, and reviewed cell phone data and reports from other agencies while working the “complicated” case.
“These investigations are long and there’s a lot of evidence that we have to put into place,” he said.
Don-Tay’s cause of death was not released.
The Franks remain in custody and are scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday.
Editor’s note: This is a corrected story. A previous version carried the incorrect spelling for the boy’s first name and incorrect name of the RCMP constable.