Sun sources claim the suspect is the ex-boyfriend of the surviving tot’s mom
A 45-year-old man is now accused of murdering three-year-old Bernice Nantanda Wamala and trying to kill her best friend by poisoning the cereal the girls ate at a sleepover in Scarborough a few months ago.
Toronto Police allege the accused — identified by Sun sources as the ex-boyfriend of the surviving tot’s mom — “accessed a controlled substance” from his work and put it into a package of cereal.
The two girls ate the Golden Morn breakfast cereal on the morning of March 7 after their sleepover.
Bernice, who lived with her mom in a highrise on Birchmount Rd., south of St. Clair Ave. E., and had slept over at her best friend’s apartment in the same building, became severely ill.
The little girl began having seizures, then her fingers, toes, and lips turned grey — symptoms of methemoglobinemia, a condition that occurs when the body is deprived of oxygen.
Within a few hours, Bernice was dead at Michael Garron Hospital.
Her best friend recovered after a lengthy stay at Sick Kids hospital.
A source told the Sun the “controlled substance” was nitrite — a preservative used in cured meats and other foods.
Overexposure to nitrites can lead to methemoglobinemia.
An investigation by police and the Ontario Coroner’s Office led to the arrest of Francis Ngugi on June 19.
The suspect was initially charged with two counts each of administering a noxious substance to endanger life and unlawfully causing bodily harm, and one count of criminal negligence causing death.
But Homicide detectives have since taken over the case and when Ngugi appeared in a Scarborough courtroom on Wednesday his charges were upgraded to one count each of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Police have not commented on a possible motive for the alleged poisoning.
Ngugi remains in custody.
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