The mother and stepfather of a six-year-old boy have pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to the child's death on Vancouver Island nearly five years ago.
Dontay-Patrick Lucas, who was of Hesquiaht descent, was found in medical distress in a Port Alberni, B.C., home on March 13, 2018. He was taken to hospital but did not survive.
In May 2022, Port Alberni RCMP announced the arrests of 28-year-old Rykel Frank, Lucas's mother, and 29-year-old Mitchell Frank, along with charges of first-degree murder in relation to the death.
On Monday the pair pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in a Port Alberni courtroom.
RCMP previously said investigators watched hours of video, spoke with dozens of witnesses and reviewed cellphone data to build their case.
Lucas's family and the community had expressed frustration over the length of time it took to bring charges in relation to the child's death.
When RCMP announced the murder charges in May of 2022 they said it was a tragic investigation that affected many people, including Dontay's classmates.
Police said at the time it was a complex investigation, but wouldn't say what led them to a charge of first-degree murder, which implies planning and intent.
A sentencing hearing is expected to take place on May 16 and 17, according to Dan McLaughlin of the B.C. Prosecution Service.