RCMP attend the scene after an infant was found dead and 14 others were sent to Alberta Children’s Hospital from a home on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, 80 kilometres west of Calgary. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Investigators look for answers in baby’s death on Alberta First Nation

CALGARY — RCMP were still looking Thursday into why a baby girl died and 14 others were taken to hospital from a crowded home on an Alberta First Nation, which had recently been hit hard with the flu.

Police and paramedics were called a day earlier to check on a child in medical distress on the Wesley First Nation, one of three reserves that make up the Stoney Nakoda First Nation near Morley, about 60 kilometres west of Calgary.

The four-month-old was declared dead at the scene and the others in the house were found suffering from influenza-like symptoms.

Ten children and four young adults were taken to hospital with respiratory issues. By Thursday afternoon, two of the adults had been released. A two-year-old girl was in serious but stable condition.

“It’s certainly something that hits you right in the heart,” said Rob Lahache, CEO of the Wesley First Nation.

He said the family is “obviously in shock and in grief” and that many in the tight-knit community are feeling for them.

The 15 who fell ill had all been living in the modest home, he added, which would have contributed to the spread of germs. Many people on the reserve have been knocked down with the flu and children were home from school this week for spring break, he said.

“It could be a very strong possibility that it’s the flu or a virus of some sort because there’s a lot of it going around,” Lahache said. “But at this point, officially we don’t know.”

RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters said tests were being done to confirm the illness and an autopsy on the baby was scheduled Friday.

“It will be a matter of trying to figure out what has gone on here,” Peters said. “It’s going to be slow.”

Those taken to hospital were not quarantined and it doesn’t appear residents from nearby homes are at risk, Peters added.

Lahache said the First Nation will allow all appropriate agencies to follow policy and conduct their own investigations after the RCMP is done.

One will be handled by Health Canada, which reached out almost immediately after the child’s death was reported, he said.

“They wanted to know if it would be OK if they could get in and conduct an investigation,” said Lahache. “They were told absolutely.”

Peters says it’s not unusual for people to fall ill, but having 15 in the same house is.

“I understand why people are wondering,” he said. “So are we and we’ve got to figure it out.”

Officials said federal Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde had spoken with the reserve’s Chief Ernest Wesley.

Philpott has offered support to the community and is monitoring the situation, said a spokesman.

Premier Rachel Notley said provincial officials are also keeping an eye on developments.

“My heart breaks for the tragic loss of the young child,” she said in a statement. ”Our thoughts are with the family, the community and the front-line workers.”

Just Posted

Red Deer record store celebrates its last Record Store Day

The Soundhouse, a guitar and record shop in downtown Red Deer, closes its doors next Saturday

WATCH: On 4—20 Day in Red Deer, marijuana users say legal weed a long time coming

Not wanting to wait for the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana,… Continue reading

Former Central Alberta MLA appealing fine for not protecting a list of 20,000 electors

List included names and addresses of voters in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre

Proposed Alberta legislation would protect consumers

Alberta Utilities Commission would be given power to penalize natural gas and electricity providers

Red Deer beginning two major construction projects

Ross Street’s 1935-era water main to be replaced and 67th Street roundabout landscaped

WATCH: Central Alberta bouldering competition

Central Alberta climbers looked to prove they’re the best at a competition… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer RCMP and Emergency Services play for Humboldt

Red Deer police officers and firefighters laced up their skates to raise… Continue reading

WATCH: Flooding closes portion of Red Deer’s 43 Street

A portion of 43 Street in Red Deer was closed Saturday morning… Continue reading

After air accidents, survivors grapple with flying again

Hundreds of hands grappling with oxygen masks. Flight attendants warning passengers to… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth to attend pop concert for 92nd birthday

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth is marking her 92nd birthday with a Saturday… Continue reading

‘Such a great person:’ Funeral being held for assistant coach with Broncos

STRASBOURG, Sask. — Mark Cross was a ferocious competitor when he played… Continue reading

UPDATE: Missing Innisfail woman located

A 54-year-old Innisfail woman, who had not been seen since Wednesday, has… Continue reading

Hellebuyck makes 30 saves, Jets beat Wild in Game 5 to advance to Round 2

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little’s teammates were happy they could deliver something special… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month