• Toronto resident Francis Ngugi was arrested Saturday
  • Another child was also poisoned but managed to survive
  • Police say the accused had put a "controlled substance" into the children's breakfast cereal

A 45-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly poisoning the breakfast cereal of a 3-year-old girl, leading to her death.

Toronto resident Francis Ngugi was arrested Saturday and charged with two counts of administering a noxious substance to endanger life, two counts of unlawfully causing bodily harm, and criminal negligence causing death, police said in a statement released Monday.

According to CTV News, the victim, Bernice Nantanda Wamala, died on March 7 after she became “violently ill” while having breakfast during a sleepover. Another child who consumed the cereal ended up in critical condition but managed to survive after a lengthy hospital stay.

Talking about the day of the incident, the deceased child's mother, Maurine Mirembe, said that her daughter was with a friend at an apartment unit in the same building where they lived. She received a call from the friend's mother who said Bernice was vomiting after having the breakfast cereal.

Mirembe then rushed to the apartment to find her daughter lying in a chair and barely breathing, the report said. "She was so weak and when I checked her mouth it was grey. I even squeezed her middle finger to see if the blood was moving, but nothing," the mother said.

The child was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where she was placed on oxygen support. After conducting numerous tests and resuscitation attempts, doctors took Bernice off life support. She died exactly one week after her third birthday.

Police then launched an investigation and now say that Ngugi obtained a "controlled substance" from his work, and placed that into the children's breakfast cereal. The officers said they are still investigating "whether the incident was intentional or accidental," said a report by CBC.

Though the investigators have "identified" the controlled substance through an autopsy, they have not revealed what was used. They have also not revealed whether the suspect knew or had any relation with the children or their families.

Ngugi appeared in court Sunday.

"All I am praying for is my daughter’s justice," Mirembe was quoted as saying by CTV News.

Following Bernice’s death, Mirembe had set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the little girl’s funeral. The woman stated on the page that she wished to lay her child to rest in Uganda, their native country.

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