Ashiqur Rahman and Jane Gomes, both 23, will be escorted into Halifax provincial court this morning to face charges related to the suspicious death of their seven-week-old daughter.
Halifax Regional Police made their names public yesterday, adding the two parents are accused of aggravated assault, although those charges could be upgraded. Their baby girl’s life came to an end Monday night at Halifax’s IWK Health Centre.
“We were abiding by the Children and Family Services Act,” spokeswoman Theresa Rath said of why police didn’t release names when the two suspects were charged Saturday. “We could not name the child or anything else that could possibly identify that child.”
Now that the infant has died of her injuries, she said, “the act is no longer applicable.”
Rath said the investigation into the fatal case of alleged child abuse requires “extensive consultation with both the medical examiner and the public prosecution service.”
Bob Trenaman said when he decided to rent a room at 2179 Gottingen Street to the young couple, “there was no visible sign that she was pregnant.”
“About two weeks later, tenants started calling me and saying ‘listen there’s a baby and the baby’s crying and waking us up at night,’” Trenaman said yesterday.
When he stopped by to check on the couple, he said Rahman promised noise “won’t be a problem.”
“This is a huge shock to everyone, including the people living there,” Trenaman said.
Susan LeForte, advocacy coordinator for the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty, said there might be a larger societal issue at play here. “I don’t think that we should make judgments about the family.”
LeForte said she heard that a public health nurse had visited the couple regularly, but wondered “what happened with the support systems that should have been in place?”