Father stands by daughter charged in baby death

Michelle Rice charged with second-degree murder

EDMONTON — The father of a woman charged with murder in the death of her 11-day-old daughter from a methamphetamine overdose says he doesn’t believe she could commit such an awful crime.

Edmonton police charged Michelle Rice, 31, Thursday with second-degree murder. She is to appear in court Monday for a bail hearing.

Officers were called to a home on March 29 to investigate a report of a baby not breathing. Autopsy and toxicology tests confirmed the baby died from a lethal dose of the drug, police said.

Terence Rice said the family is struggling to deal with the arrest.

“I just want to say that I know my daughter is a good person and I don’t believe that what she is accused of is true,” he said Friday from Lethbridge, Alta.

“The fact that she is being charged with murder is beyond me, because I know that she really loves her children. I can’t imagine how this would come about. It is horrible.”

Police have said Rice is a single mother who is in a relationship.

Her father said his daughter’s other child, a two-year-old son, is in the custody of his biological father.

Terence Rice said his wife and other daughter want to gain custody of the boy.

Police have said the medical examiner stated there are two ways the baby could have ingested the methamphetamine — anally or orally. Investigators don’t believe the drug could have been passed to the baby through breast milk.

Rice said he wants to speak with his daughter, who last visited his home during the Christmas holidays.

“She stayed at my house. I thought she was healthy and happy.”

Terence Rice said his daughter grew up in Lethbridge with a sister and two brothers and moved away about eight years ago.

She didn’t have trouble with drugs growing up and is smart, he said.

“She had gifts in that way,” he said. ”She was on the national honour role through high school and had scholarships.”

Rice said his family is overwhelmed by what is happening.

“To be accused of such a heinous crime — it is very disturbing.”

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