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.

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

Just Posted

Latest winter storm prompts West Kootenay travel warning

20-30 cm of snow expected overnight and into Thursday

Creston Valley Arts Council awards Frank Goodsir for service

Frank Goodsir served arts community in many roles during 41 years in Creston

Creston Valley Thunder Cats rookies pave the way for progress

Rookie Corbin Cockerill is Creston’s leading rookie scorer; 12 points in 12 games for Ty Grisedale

Shypitka updates RDEK on proposed provincial time changes

A famous German physicist once said time is relative. And when it… Continue reading

Programs available in West Kootenay for substance use challenges

Sign up now for two six-week programs in January and March

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Special prosecutor to review Cranbrook toddler drowning case

Evidence disclosure at issue in the case of a woman sentenced for criminal negligence causing death

UPDATE: Supreme Court dismisses B.C.’s appeal in Trans Mountain pipeline case

Judges decide whether B.C.’s power to protect environment can include impeding a federal project

10 B.C. cities break temperature records in winter storm

Quesnel dipped to -41.9 C, breaking a record from 1916

Vancouver Island child struck, pinned under SUV while sledding

Boy suffers serious injuries, no charges laid in incident

Unprepared for chemistry test, B.C. student begs superintendent to call another snow day

The student from West Vancouver promised he would study more, but was distracted by skiing and hot chocolate

Blast of winter continues across B.C., bringing frigid weather and more snow

A number of weather warnings continued Thursday as winter storms continue in B.C.

Over 16,000 people nabbed by RCMP between border crossings in 2019

In 2019, 63,830 claims were filed, up from 55,040 in 2018

Most Read