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Woman accused in daycare death of Regina 3-year-old acquitted – Regina


A criminal trial held more than three years after the death of a three-year-old Regina girl was over in just minutes on Monday, resulting in an acquittal of the accused.

Zoey Hancock was found unresponsive at a northeast Regina home daycare on the morning of March 20, 2018. Ashley Longworth, who pleaded not guilty to a resulting count of manslaughter charged in February 2020, was acquitted by Judge Timothy Keene of the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench.

“It’s difficult to convey in words the relief our client feels given the result of the case, while also acknowledging the pain the family of the deceased still feels,” defense counsel Darren Kraushaar said in an emailed statement, adding that an ongoing publication ban prevents him from further comment.

“This is obviously a horrible and tragic situation. There isn’t much we can say given the publication ban on the voir dire.”

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Regina woman charged in 2018 death of 3-year-old girl

Soon after the trial began, Crown Prosecutor Christopher White announced he would not be calling any evidence while resting his case on Monday.

It was far from the result Zoey’s mother was praying for.

Speaking to Global News after the hearing, Debbie Hancock said “my heart is completely broken.”

“I’m clearly hurt. This went on for three and a half years for it all to lead up to nothing. I kind of feel like my daughter’s death was just another stack of papers on someone’s desk,” said Debbie, whose daughter would have turned seven this week.

“My daughter’s birthday is Wednesday and I get to sit with her remains and I get to cry.”

Read more:
Police investigating death of 3-year-old girl found unresponsive at Regina home

The Regina Police Service didn’t announce that they were investigating Zoey’s 2018 death as a homicide until February 12, 2020, when Longworth was charged.

Longworth was released at the time on conditions of keeping the peace and good behavior. She was not in custody prior to Monday’s trial.

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In a related press release, the RPS noted being called to a Regina hospital at 12:25 p.m. after Zoey was pronounced deceased. According to the release, a 9-1-1 call was placed at 9:45 a.m. that day indicating that a three-year-old was unresponsive. It adds that “EMS was dispatched and administered emergency care to the child before transporting the girl to hospital.”

Read more:
Woman charged in 2020 death of Saskatoon toddler

That, Debbie said, is where Zoey died in her arms at 12:17 p.m.

“My life ended that day, with her in that room.”

Debbie remembered Zoey as her “best friend” and a silly, animal-loving toddler who loved to go to animal shelters to pet the cats and dogs.

The Regina Police Service confirmed to Global News in 2020 that Longworth was operating an unlicensed daycare and “did not hold employment as it related to the care or supervision of children.”

A representative of the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench has informed Global Regina that the lawyers and judge involved in the trial are reviewing the publication ban. An update is expected this week.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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