Aleka Esa-Bella Scheyk Gonzales. (CP)

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

A 51-year-old Agassiz man pleaded guilty in connection to a snake venom death of a toddler in North Vancouver five years ago.

Henry Thomas, of Seabird Island, 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 at 5 a.m. the next day, the girl’s mother told police her daughter had died.

• READ MORE: Agassiz man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

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 in January at home and charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.

In court in North Vancouver on July 18, Thomas pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life, according to the B.C. Prosecution Service. He is next scheduled in court for sentencing in October. The charge under section 215 of the criminal code comes with a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

The little girl’s mother, 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.”

– with files from The Canadian Press

• RELATED: VIDEO: Dozens of rattlesnakes removed from under Texas home


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Stabbing reported in downtown Maple Ridge

Incident called in during lunch hour, Monday

No negligence in RCMP actions in B.C. teen’s overdose death: Watchdog

A Maple Ridge woman started an online petition called Justice for Carson Crimeni.

LETTER: Pitt Meadows should have lowest taxes

New council seems set on its own vision of a restyled Pitt Meadows.

Maple Ridge council wants a bolder vision for Lougheed corridor

Mayor wants big city plans for western area

RCMP Cram the Cruiser event tops last year’s

More food, cash collected in Pitt Meadows

‘Kind of lacking:’ Injured Bronco wonders why Canada won’t fund spinal surgery

“I think if Canada can step in and advance this program”

Vancouver Giants fall to Spokane Chiefs

‘We are just having a tough time scoring right now’

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

Don’t expect extra bus service during impending SkyTrain strike, CMBC says

Full SkyTrain shutdown is scheduled to start Tuesday morning

In surprise move, defence won’t call witnesses for accused in Abbotsford school killing

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

Surrey getting a new hospital, in Cloverdale

Premier John Horgan said the ‘brand new hospital’ will be built near Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Operation Red Nose Surrey-Langley could close for rest of season due to lack of volunteers

Organizers say they are struggling to keep up with high call numbers and long wait times

Most Read