A Canadian mother is currently on trial for the suffocation death of her 16-year-old daughter, who "had cerebral palsy and couldn't walk, talk or feed herself," according to CTV News. Shortly after 11:30 a.m. on February 19, 2011, police officials arrived at the home of Cindy Ali in Ontario after she reportedly called 911, claiming that her daughter Cynara wasn't breathing after being injured when two masked intruders invaded their home.
When emergency services arrived at the home, they discovered an unresponsive teen laying on the couch surrounded by broken glass, an overturned table, and drawers were open as if there had been a scuffle, but first responders stated that it appeared to be staged, and the drawers didn't appear to have been rummaged through.
Trial of Cindy Ali, mom accused of killing disabled teen, hears that child could have suffered seizure-related death https://t.co/T8JLe1jt7aA firefighter, who was heard by a dispatcher on the phone saying to Ali -- who was sitting on the floor -- that "There's no other footprints, so there's no one that's come in here. Don't bulls*** me!" and yelled at her to get up from the floor. Metro News reported that there was a "light dusting of snow on the ground that day," and if two masked men had entered her home, there would have been footprints – but responders at the scene claimed that there weren't any footprints.
— Diana Mehta (@dianamehta) February 23, 2016
Paramedics worked diligently to save the young teen while the mother sat emotionless on the couch. Sohail Bastani, who was at the scene, stated that "Most of my experience with moms… They're hysterical and we have to pull them away from the child. This seemed unusual to me." The teen was later transported to a hospital in Toronto where she was pronounced dead the following day.
Ali was taken to the precinct for questioning where she told investigators that she recalls one of the masked intruders – who she said were armed and wore suits – had a Jamaican accent, hovering over her daughter with a pillow. Her story later changed, stating that the intruder had a pillow over her face, not her daughter's.
Watch video of Cindy Ali's husband, Allan, who breaks his silence and says wife is innocent.
When an autopsy report revealed the teen's cause of death, police officials charged Ali with first-degree murder. She is currently on trial and appeared in crown court Tuesday, where she pleaded not guilty in the death of her daughter. Ali claims that Cynara's seizures could have caused her to stop breathing, but according to the autopsy report, the teen died from a "brain injury arising from deprivation of oxygen, which was caused by cardiac arrest." It was later uncovered that the brain injury could have been caused by suffocation.
Earlier this month, prosecutor Rosemarie Juginovic appeared in court where he told jurors that "Cindy Ali laid her daughter down on the couch, put a pillow over her daughter's face and held it over her face until she stopped breathing. Before Cindy Ali did this, she staged her house to support the lie that she ultimately told police, which is that two black men barged into her home, one of whom killed her daughter."
During a police interview, which was played in court, Ali expressed that she made several attempts to save her daughter's life. She told police officials the followng: "Why would I want to hurt my own child. If I wanted to do it why wait so long, so many years."
However, despite the evident that Ali may have allegedly fabricated the story of two masked men entering her home and smothering her disabled daughter to death, a pathologist – Dr. Michael Shkrum – said in court that there is no physical evidence that the teen was suffocated. He went on to say that the teen had a "history of seizures and could have stopped breathing and suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of seizures."
Dr. Shkrum also noted that Cynara had a lung infection, which could have played a key factor in her death. "We have physical evidence for aspiration pneumonia, we have clinical evidence for seizure disorder. It was well-documented in her life, we know it's associated with sudden death, and she had cerebral palsy."
But the pathologist did add that if Cynara was suffocated or smothered, it would be hard to determine, as "there may be very few signs of it." In court, when the prosecutor asked: "You would agree with me, given the history and scene information, that smothering cannot be excluded in this case as a possible cause of a cardiac arrest?" Dr. Shkrum stated that he cannot exclude suffocation as a cause of death.
The trial is ongoing.
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