WARNING: The following story contains details that some people may find disturbing.
The parents of a one-year-old girl in Winnipeg have been charged with manslaughter after the child died from fentanyl intoxication.
According to the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), one-year-old Hanna Boulette died in March 2023.
Police began to investigate on March 23, 2023, when a man called 911 after Hanna became unresponsive. The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service went to the scene and gave CPR to the child, who was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Officers arrested the parents for criminal negligence causing death. The father also faced a charge of possession of a controlled substance because police found fentanyl on him during his arrest.
During the investigation, police determined that the parents were not forthcoming with details of the incident.
According to Const. Claude Chancy with the WPS, the amount of time that passed from when the parents became aware of the child’s fentanyl exposure to the time that 911 was called may have played a role in the child’s death.
“I can’t give you the exact amount of time but was several hours,” he said at a Monday news conference, adding that the parents “knew the child was in distress.”
An autopsy and toxicology reports determined that her death resulted from high levels of fentanyl intoxication.
Chancy notes that the toxicology reports showed a large amount of fentanyl was found in the child’s body.
“We’re talking a [one]-year-old child, so it wouldn’t take a large amount of fentanyl to prove fatal, which it did in this case,” he said.
The WPS child abuse unit consulted with the Manitoba Prosecution Service, which authorized the charge of manslaughter against the parents.
Hanna’s parents, Garry Daniel Adrian Bruce and Sabrina Faye Boulette, have been charged.
The charges have not been tested in court. Both parents are in custody.
Chancy noted that police are seeing more and more incidents across Canada where children are being exposed to fentanyl and other dangerous substances.
“We know that our society right now has a substance abuse problem,” Chancy said.
“The fact of the matter is we still need to protect our children. So whether or not you have a drug problem, an alcohol problem... if you have children in your care, your first responsibility is their safety.”