Death of baby in Stratford under investigation by police watchdog

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The death of an 18-month-old child in Stratford, Ont. is under investigation by Ontario’s police watchdog.
The death of an 18-month-old child in Stratford, Ont. is under investigation by Ontario’s police watchdog.

(Yvon Theriault/CBC - image credit)

The death of an 18-month-old child in Stratford this week is under investigation by Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

According to preliminary information, the SIU says Stratford police and paramedics were called to a home around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday about a child in medical distress.

When they arrived, first responders performed CPR on the child, whose gender has not been identified. The child was taken to hospital and was pronounced dead at 6:21 a.m., the SIU said in a release.

"The SIU's investigation is focused on the conduct of the police in the weeks prior to the date of the child's death and whether an appropriate level of care was exercised with respect to the child's wellbeing," the SIU said in a release.

One subject official, four witness officials and one service employee witness have been designated, the SIU said. The post-mortem took place Thursday.

Spokesperson Monica Hudon told CBC News that as the SIU awaits the results of the post-mortem, its investigation will involve interviewing civilians and police, and collecting and examining evidence.

"Once the fieldwork is complete and all evidence is collected, the SIU Director will then determine whether there are or are not reasonable grounds to lay charges," said Hudon in an email.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates police conduct that may have resulted in a death, serious injury or sexual assault.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service is also helping with the investigation, Stratford police said in a release.