Woman charged in disabled daughter's death described as dedicated mom
Published Thursday, April 28, 2016 9:09AM EDT
A Calgary mother has been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life after her disabled daughter was found dead in the home they shared together.
Police were called to the family's home early Tuesday morning following reports of a woman in medical distress. Emergency crews found 38-year-old Melissa Couture unresponsive and she was later pronounced dead.
Couture suffered from cerebral palsy. She used a wheelchair, she was deaf and unable to communicate.
Police allege she did not receive the medical attention she needed while under her mother's care.
"It would appear from the physical appearance, that there was several issues that required attention and medical care was not provided," Insp. Don Coleman told reporters during a news conference on Wednesday.
A bail hearing for 68-year-old Patricia Couture is scheduled for Thursday. Police said she's currently in custody and she's been co-operating with the police investigation.
The charges against Patricia Couture have shocked the southwest Calgary neighbourhood where she's lived for decades.
Neighbours say Patricia Couture was a loving single mother who dedicated her life to taking care of her daughter.
"We've watch Pat age prematurely in the last 30 years," neighbour John Byers told CTV Calgary. "Melissa was not an easy person to look after."
Byers said Patricia Couture fought to get her daughter into public school so she could be better integrated into the community.
"It seems difficult to believe, given that she dedicated so much of her life to (Melissa Couture), that it would have an ending like this," he added.
Neighbours said they used to see the pair out on walks in the community, but some residents said they haven't seen Melissa Couture in about a year.
Elaine Yost, president of Calgary-based Options Rehabilitation Services, said community support is imperative when taking care of a sick family member, but it's often difficult to come by.
"Exhaustion sets in and isolation sets in and it becomes very difficult," Yost said.
None of the allegations against Patricia Couture have been proven in court.
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Jamie Mauracher