Tasha Mack is seen in this police handout photo provided as evidence by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. A woman charged after a toddler was found dead outside an Edmonton church has pleaded not guilty at the start of her trial. Tasha Mack is accused of second-degree murder in the 19-month-old’s death. The boy’s lifeless body was found outside the Good Shepherd Anglican Church in April 2017. Mack and the boy’s father, Joey Crier, both face charges. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Edmonton murder trial hears toddler went from chunky, happy to skin and bones

19-month old Anthony Joseph Raine was left to die outside a church, the court heard

A woman who lived with two people charged in the death of a toddler found outside an Edmonton church says she often heard crying, yelling, smacking and more crying from their bedroom.

Tasha-Lee Doreen Mack and the child’s father, Joey Crier, are charged with second-degree murder in the 2017 death of 19-month old Anthony Joseph Raine.

Mack pleaded not guilty Monday at the start of her trial. A date has not yet been set for Crier’s trial.

An agreed statement of facts submitted in Mack’s case said that Crier, Mack and Anthony moved into the Edmonton home of Alexa Noseworthy and Adrian Hampshire in mid-March and stayed there for about five or six weeks.

Anthony was a chunky, happy baby when he arrived, Noseworthy said, but he was “skin and bones” by the time the family left in April.

“He lost a lot of weight,” Noseworthy testified.

She recalled Crier once hitting the boy in the mouth as the child sat in an exersaucer. Another time she saw the father raise his arm above the boy’s playpen.

“Skin on skin has an obvious sound,” she said. “He closed the door. I heard two more.”

Noseworthy told court that Mack and Crier started leaving Anthony in the bedroom and she rarely saw them feed him.

“I heard lots of fighting,” she said. “It got worse.”

Crown prosecutor Mark van Manen suggested Mack either abused the boy or did nothing to stop the violence that killed him.

“The Crown expects to show that, in the two months before Anthony was found dead … he was the victim of physical abuse,” he said.

The abuse became more severe as time went on, van Manen added, and both Mack and Crier are liable for the boy’s death.

The agreed statement of facts said a witness saw a couple pushing a stroller near the Good Shepherd Anglican Church on April 18, 2017.

“She saw one of the individuals open the garbage bin at the corner of the church and throw a white blanket taken from inside the stroller into the garbage bin,” the statement said.

It added that the boy was propped up in a sitting position, under a blue blanket, at the side of the church.

Three days later, a woman out for a walk noticed what she thought was a bundle of garbage.

Davida Marantz pulled back the blanket, then ran into the church, where some women were preparing for a bazaar, and said: “It’s a baby. Come, come. It’s a baby.”

A paramedic arrived and determined the child was dead.

“His head was swollen and dark purple in colour. He had dried blood around his face and in both of his ears,” stated the document. “He was cold to the touch with circular patterns of bruising and indentation marks on his neck.”

The next day, police released surveillance video of a man and a woman pushing a stroller with a blue blanket. A tip from Noseworthy identified the people as Crier and Mack.

A bus driver who recognized the pair later called his control centre, which contacted police, said the court document.

It said Thomas Loughlin told police that Crier and Mack had boarded his bus with an empty stroller, and that he had overheard Crier tell Mack that they ”needed to get rid of this thing.”

Loughlin said Mack responded with laughter.

Crier and Mack were arrested by police that night.

Mack’s trial is expected to take several weeks.

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Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press


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