Vancouver police interview mother after death of second baby in one year

Vancouver police interview mother after death of second baby in one year

By Kim Bolan and Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
April 1, 2010 Comments (12)

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A Vancouver police photographer takes pictures in 2009 near a home in 2500 block Charles St. where a baby’s body was found in a plastic bag. On Wednesday police were called to the same house after a report another newborn was not seen after its birth in the first week of March.
Photograph by: Bill Keay, Vancouver Sun

Vancouver police have launched a homicide investigation involving a newborn baby at the same east Vancouver location where a dead baby boy was found a year ago.

Police say the same mother gave birth to both babies. Although no charges were laid last year, the latest case is being investigated as a homicide, even though the baby’s body hadn’t been found as of Wednesday night.

The investigation was launched Monday after police were called to the 2500 block of Charles Street. A caller had told police a newborn baby hadn’t been seen since its home birth in early March.

“Police have information to believe the baby is no longer alive,” Const. Jana McGuinness said, adding the case is upsetting. “Even seasoned investigators will find this shocking.”

On Wednesday, yellow police tape cordoned off the area around a house close to where the first dead baby was found wrapped in a plastic bag and dumped in a back yard.

Last year, police told the media the woman was getting the help and support she needed after delivering a baby boy that was found dead.

The cause of death of the first baby has not been released and the results of the earlier investigation are now with Crown counsel, McGuinness said.

She said police do not know the gender of the second baby.

Police forensic investigators remained at the house until 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when they removed their white disposable jumpsuits in the front yard of the two-storey home.

The house is registered to Derick and Maggie Leung, who neighbours say live there with their son and daughter and work as professional gardeners. It’s not known if anyone else had lived in the house in the past year.

Police say the mother is linked to the home but said Wednesday she was not in residence.

She added it would be inappropriate for police to give out more information about the mother because no charges had been laid.

“Searches will occur in the near future in an area that has been identified,” McGuinness said. “These are separate investigations but they are linked. It is the same mother in both cases that we have interviewed.”

Neighbour Francesco Urbani said he was surprised to hear the Leungs’ house was being investigated, adding the Leungs are a “really nice family” with children in their late teens or early 20s.

“I talk with them almost every day,” he said. “Last year I talked with [Derick Leung] about it and he said, ‘We had nothing to do with it.’ I believe him.

“We are friends. It’s a beautiful block. We look after each other.”

McGuinness said it’s rare to investigate baby murders. Since 1985, she said, the Vancouver police department has only investigated seven homicides of kids under two.

Asked how a second child could have died when the woman was getting support a year ago, McGuinness said there are many answers still to come.

“She was given the support services at the time that she required. You can appreciate as well that there will no doubt be parallel investigations to ours to look into how these two small lives were lost. This was just [the] beginning. This is a complex and lengthy process we are going through here,” she said.

“It is very sad. It is very shocking. This is twice in just over a year. This will be very distressing to those closely connected to the family.”

The Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Vancouver Coastal Health authority refused to comment, citing privacy concerns.

kbolan@vancouversun.com

ksinoski@vancouversun.com

With files from Jonathan Fowlie
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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