The woman charged in connection to the death of a 19-month-old Cranbrook girl has pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.
Originally charged with second degree murder, Tammy Bouvette was in Cranbrook Provincial Court on Monday, May 13 for a sentencing hearing over the May 2011 drowning death of Iyanna Teeple.
Bouvette, 29, cried throughout the day-long proceedings, at times with her head in her hands.
She wore green sweats and has a tattoo on her neck that reads “Mommy’s Angels”.
Prosecutor Lianna Swanson outlined the Crown’s case for Judge Lisa Mrozinski.
While Bouvette originally told RCMP that Iyanna drowned in the bathtub on May 26, 2011, while Bouvette turned to pick up a shampoo bottle, she later admitted to different circumstances.
Bouvette was caring for Iyanna and two of her own four children, then aged 17 months and four years, and had just finished feeding Iyanna lunch, she later told RCMP. She began to unclip Iyanna from a high chair when she heard noise from another room and went to check on the other children. Bouvette then heard a loud bang from the kitchen and rushed back to see Iyanna face down on the kitchen floor with the chair on top of her.
Bouvette picked Iyanna up and said she had a red mark on her forehead but no other visible injuries. She took the crying baby upstairs and ran a bath. She then left the bathroom for about five minutes, Bouvette told RCMP in a statement in June 2011. When she returned, Iyanna was face down in the bathtub and unresponsive.
Bouvette phoned 911 and tried to resuscitate the little girl. Iyanna was taken to Cranbrook hospital, then transferred to Alberta Children’s Hospital, where she was taken off life support the following day.
An autopsy found injuries to the top and side of Iyanna’s head and to her mouth.
Swanson told Judge Mrozinski that Crown cannot prove Bouvette caused those injuries or the drowning, but said that Bouvette’s failure to protect the child amounted to a wanton disregard for her safety.
Defense counsel Jesse Gelber said Bouvette was suffering from anxiety and depression at the time of Iyanna’s death, and pointed out that Bouvette pleaded guilty to criminal negligence at the first chance she had.
Judge Mrozinski will hand down her sentencing decision about the case on Thursday, May 16 in Cranbrook.