Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales. (CP)

Agassiz man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

A 51-year-old man is facing charges in connection to the snake venom death of a North Vancouver toddler.

RCMP said Henry Thomas, of Seabird Island, Agassiz, was taking care of a two-year-old girl on May 18, 2014.

When Thomas returned the toddler to her mother’s home in North Vancouver and at 5 a.m. the next day, the girl’s mother told police her daughter had died.

RCMP searched his Agassiz home in July 2015 and found snakes and “related equipment.”

Through further DNA testing, investigators confirmed that the toddler died as a result of snake venom.

Thomas was arrested without incident on Friday at home and charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.

Venessa Gonzales said she’ll remember her daughter, Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales, as happy and bubbly.

“I called her my little blackbird, because that’s what Aleka means,” Gonzales said.

She had to put all the photos of her daughter away because of the pain they cause her, she said, adding she wasn’t prepared for the attention that the announcement of charges has generated.

Gonzales said Thomas was a friend, but she refused to say more about him. She said it has taken a long time for police to lay charges.

“Nothing was happening and (police) told me two years ago that they closed the file and that no charges would be laid.”

Instead, she said police came to her home recently to tell her he was being charged.

“It’s been a really four and a half, almost five years now.”

”This is a very tragic incident that resulted in a complex, unique investigation by police and support agencies,” said Supt. Chris Kennedy. “Our condolences are extended to the family and community of the deceased child.

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Minus two-degree weather a warm welcome following cold snap in Chilliwack

People flocked to the hills Saturday, sleds in hand, to take in some snowy fun in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

Charity Clothes2U ready to hand out free items to people in need in Chilliwack

The Clothes2U Winter Giveaway event will be in Chilliwack at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church

Pickup truck motorist drives up vehicle ramp and onto parked trailer on Chilliwack road

The incident happened on Young Road after Chilliwack was handed another dump of snow Friday night

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read