Skip to main content

First-degree murder charges laid against prospective adoptive parents of boy found dead in Burlington, Ont. home: police


Police say first-degree murder charges have now been laid against the prospective adoptive parents of a 12-year-old boy who was found dead at a home in Burlington more than a year ago.

According to police, officers and other emergency personnel were called to a residence in Burlington shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2022. A 12-year-old boy was found without vital signs and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Police said a “lengthy investigation” followed and on Feb. 29, 2024, the child’s prospective adoptive parents were arrested.

In a news release, investigators said Becky Hamber, 44, of Burlington, and 42-year-old Brandy Cooney, of Hamilton, have been charged with first-degree murder and failure to provide the necessaries of life.

Both of the accused were held for a bail hearing on March 1st, police said.

Investigators said the accused were also the prospective adoptive parents to a younger sibling of the deceased child, who was living in the home in December 2022.

Following an investigation in relation to the younger sibling, police said the two accused were charged in January 2023 with assault, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, failure to provide the necessaries of life, and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

None of the charges haven been tested in court.

In a statement, Janice Robinson, the executive director of the Halton Children's Aid Society, said the organization is "cooperating fully" with the police investigation.

"Upon learning of the death of an Indigenous child in our care on December 21, 2022, our organization was devastated," the statement read.

"We immediately conducted an internal review and we engaged an independent third-party reviewer to examine child safety and adherence to standards. We have been absolutely committed to learning everything we can about what happened in this case."

The statement went on to say that the safety and wellbeing of the children in its care is the organization's top priority.

"Our profound thoughts and condolences continue to be with the family and the Indigenous community," the statement continued. Top Stories

'Rust' armourer gets 18 months in prison for fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin on set

A movie weapons supervisor was sentenced to 18 months in prison in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western film "Rust," during a hearing Monday in which tearful family members and friends gave testimonials that included calls for justice and a punishment that would instill greater accountability for safety on film sets.

Donald Trump hush money trial, explained

All of Donald Trump's trials and the characters involved make for a complicated legal mess, particularly when the four criminal cases are added to Trump's civil liability for defamation and sexual misconduct and for business fraud. Here's what to know to get up to speed on this first criminal trial, starting April 15, 2024.

Here's what to expect in the 2024 federal budget

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will be presenting the 2024 federal budget on Tuesday, revealing how the federal Liberal government intends to balance the nearly $40 billion in pre-announced new spending with her vow to remain fiscally prudent.

Prince Harry in legal setback about security protection in U.K.

Prince Harry's fight for police protection in the U.K. received another setback on Monday, when a judge rejected his request to appeal an earlier ruling upholding a government panel's decision to limit his access to publicly funded security after giving up his status as a working member of the royal family.

Stay Connected