Twins Ceira and Colby McGrath were 18 months old. Their parents would drop them both at daycare. But one day in November 2015, only Colby came home. It’s taken their parents until this month to find out the truth of what happened that day.
Ryan McGrath and Tanya Gladwell, from Calgary in Canada, had entrusted their twins to the care of Elmarie Simons. Simons was due to go on trial earlier this month for criminal negligence causing death, but at the last minute, decided to plead guilty.
Simons revealed that on the day Ceira died, she wanted to run errands. So she put Ceira in a car seat, but because the toddler was too big for the seat, and the straps between her legs wouldn’t fasten, Simons left her with just a chest strap buckled around her. Simons then left Ceira in a walk-in closet, on her own, and went out. For five hours.
Simons went to Walmart, and to McDonalds. When she came home, she didn’t check on Ceira. When she eventually went back into the walk-in closet, the toddler was unresponsive. Ceira had been strangled by the strap while trying to get out of the car seat.
Watch the Calgary Police Service’s statement after charging Elmarie Simons with the death of a child in 2017. Post continues after video.
This week, Ceira’s father read a victim impact statement to the court. He said that not long before his daughter’s death, Simons had asked him why Ceira rarely giggled.
“The question struck me as strange instantly and I’ll forever regret not removing her and Colby from you that very day,” McGrath said.