Toronto couple charged with murder in toddler’s death

A mother and her common-law partner have been charged with second-degree murder after a 26-month-old boy died on Sunday.

Marleny Cruz, 25, and Joel France, 36, both of Toronto, were charged after Nicholas Cruz died in hospital and police were called. The child, who police say exhibited physical signs of trauma, was the city’s 31st homicide victim of the year.

France, who isn’t the child’s father, also faces an assault charge.

“One of the contributing causes of death…was trauma to the abdomen,” said Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga.

The couple and the victim lived in the Walnut Street and Richmond Street West area in Toronto.  Neighbours were rattled by what occurred.

“Some guy had come out holding a child, and the child’s face was blue and he said, ‘I need you to take me to the hospital.'” Every one was very upset,” said neighbour Tim Vickery.

Cruz and France appeared in a downtown court on Tuesday morning. Her case was put over until July 23.

France was expected back in court on Aug. 6.

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