Mother of toddler who died suddenly after eating breakfast still doesn't know her daughter's cause of death
TORONTO -- The body of a three-year-old Toronto girl who died suddenly after eating breakfast at a sleepover will be returned to her mother's homeland to be buried despite the family still not knowing why she died.
Maurine Mirembe will attend her daughter Bernice Nantanda Wamala’s visitation on Tuesday while grappling with the fact that two weeks after Bernice’s death she still doesn’t know what happened.
"My daughter is dead," Mirembe told CTV News Toronto on Monday. "And I'm still asking myself what was the cause of her death?"
Toronto Police and the Office of the Chief Coroner are investigating the death, but in an email to CTV News Toronto investigators said "there are no updates at this time."
On March 6, Bernice slept over at her best friend's apartment, which is located on a different level in the same building where they live in Scarborough.
Mirembe said everything was fine until the two girls ate cereal for breakfast the next morning and both became suddenly ill.
Mirembe said she received a call from the other girl’s mother to tell her that Bernice was having some type of reaction and was vomiting.
"I found Bernice laying in a chair," Mirembe said at the time. "She was so weak and when I checked her mouth it was grey."
Doctors at Michael Garron Hospital placed Bernice on oxygen and ran numerous tests to try and determine what was happening, but her condition continued to deteriorate.
Mirembe said after multiple resuscitation attempts by the doctors, her daughter was taken off life support.
Bernice was pronounced dead, exactly one week after her third birthday.
The other girl was transferred to the The Hospital for Sick Children for treatment. She has since recovered and is back at home with her mother.
Mirembe says she deserves answers
To date, no one has been able to tell Mirembe what could have killed her daughter and made her friend so sick.
She says when she calls Toronto police, they tell her that an investigation is underway and there are no updates.
"It's so hard and painful," Mirembe said through tears. "It's now two weeks and no answers. I don't know how long I’m going to wait to get the answers."
"I wish I could know so I could talk to myself and say 'Ok Maurine, this is what happened.' But nothing so far."
She said following the visitation service on Tuesday, which will be attended by a limited number of people because of COVID-19 restrictions, Bernice's body will be flown back to Uganda to be buried.
"I wish to lay her to rest back home in Uganda, where our heritage is, and where she would be at peace," Mirembe said in a post earlier this month.
A GoFundMe account organized to help raise money to cover the costs has collected nearly $43,000 since it was started.
CTV News Toronto also contacted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which is investigating if a food product was a factor in the death, and is awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, Mirembe has been left asking herself one question over and over again: "Why?"
"If you can't get answers and your baby is gone how would you feel?"