B.C. babysitter charged with second-degree murder

VANCOUVER -A Cranbrook, B.C., babysitter has been charged with second-degree murder in the drowning death of 19-month-old Iyanna Teeple.

Tammy Marion Bouvette, 28, was charged after the infant was found face down in a bathtub in Bouvette’s townhouse on May 26.

According to police, Bouvette called emergency crews at around noon. When they arrived, they discovered the baby girl, who wasn’t breathing, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Faulkner.

Iyanna was taken to East Kootenay Regional Hospital and then flown to Calgary Children’s Hospital, where she was taken off life support on May 28.

Though Iyanna was declared brain-dead a day earlier, she remained on life support for organ-donation purposes, Iyanna’s mother, Renee Savarie, told The Sun on Tuesday.

A forensic autopsy confirmed that she had died from drowning.

Police said Iyanna had been dropped off at Bouvette’s townhouse a few hours before she was found in the tub. The home is located in a modest area of the southeastern British Columbia town, on a street lined with low-rise apartments, duplexes, and detached homes.

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“We were at work at the time,” Savarie said, adding that she’s known Bouvette for a couple of years. “I met Tammy at a pre-natal group,” she said, explaining that they were acquaintances, “not really friends.”

Bouvette, who has four children of her own, sometimes watched Iyanna for Savarie and her husband, Jason Teeple, when Savarie’s mother or their regular sitter were unavailable.

Asked about the charges, Savarie said, “You don’t leave a baby alone in the tub. That’s every mother’s common sense.”

After interviewing Bouvette several times following Iyanna’s death, police collected enough evidence to indicate that foul play was involved, Faulkner said. On June 24, they sent the investigation to Crown counsel, who on Monday approved a charge of second-degree murder.

Faulkner said police wouldn’t be releasing many details about the case. “I’m glad it’s slowly coming to an end,” Savarie said. “We just want to get it over with.”

Iyanna, an only child, “was very polite, happy and really a great baby,” Savarie said.

“She didn’t like to see people upset, so she would do something silly to make you smile. It’s just been an emotional roller-coaster for us. … It was her birthday on the 14th of October,” she said. “We’re planning to have more kids,” she added.

Renee’s younger brother, Mike Savarie, also of Cranbrook, said his niece “was the happiest little thing around. She was always smiling.”

He said the family hopes the trial won’t drag on so his sister and her husband can finally find a way to move on from the tragedy.

Bouvette appeared in Cranbrook Provincial Court Tuesday, but will have to appear in front of a Supreme Court Justice for a bail hearing.

According to the Criminal Code, second-degree murder carries a sentence of life in prison, though the judge can set parole eligibility anywhere between 10 and 25 years. Generally, the charge applies to homicide carried out intentionally but without premeditation.

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