Police say the mother of a six-year-old Port Alberni boy found dead in 2018 is one of the two people charged with his first-degree murder.
Rykel Frank, nee Charleson, and her current husband Mitchell Frank face murder charges in the death of young Dontay Lucas, according to police.
The pair was arrested Friday, May 6 by Port Alberni RCMP and are being held in custody until their trial date.
On the morning of March 13, 2018, police were called to a Port Alberni home for a report of a child in medical distress. The young boy, later identified as Lucas, was taken to hospital but did not survive. Police later announced they were investigating his death as suspicious, launching a four-year-long investigation.
“From that point officers with the General Investigative Section were assisted by both plainclothes and uniformed officers to carry out an investigation into how young Dontay died,” Port Alberni RCMP said in a statement.
“We understand and appreciate the continued cries for answers from the public, and Dontay’s family as we turned every stone and followed every investigational avenue. Officers have reviewed hours of video, spoken with dozens of witnesses, reviewed cell phone data and reports from outside agencies.”
On Saturday, Lucas’s family thanked the public for their support as they tried to cope with the devastating news.
“We’ve been fighting for a long time for this to actually happen. When I got the call yesterday, I couldn’t help but just cry, cry with happiness but it also opened up that wound again,” said Dontay’s father, Patrick Lucas.
The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council also released a statement saying four years was too long to bring charges against the accused.
“The death of any person is very sad, but it is even sadder when it is a young child with their whole life ahead of them. When the death is due to family violence, we know there is still healing to be done in our communities from residential schools, racism, and colonization,” said council president Judith Sayers.
“At long last, charges have been brought against two people who caused the death. The justice system has to do better. Now the family have another long wait for the trial to begin.”
Police say every piece of evidence collected in the investigation has been turned over to the BC Prosecution Service and it is now ready to stand trial.