Daycare provider acquitted in death of 3-year-old girl

Zoey Hancock is pictured. Courtesy: Deborah Hancock and Bryce Loomer.

A woman set to stand trial for manslaughter in the death of a three-year-old girl was acquitted by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge on Monday.

Ashley Longworth was charged in Feb. 2020 with the death of Zoey Hancock, who died on March 20, 2018.

RPS says that on the morning of March 20, Zoey was dropped off at the daycare by her mother. She had been attending this daycare for four months.

At 9:45 a.m., police were called to the daycare in the 100 block of Montreal St. N. Zoey was unconscious and in “dire medical condition,” according to RPS. At the time, Longworth was taking care of five children at the unlicensed daycare.

Zoey was pronounced dead at the hospital at 12:17 p.m. Police considered the death a homicide.

Longworth pleaded not guilty and Monday was set to be the first day in her trial. However, the Crown rested its case -- citing a lack of evidence.

Darren Kraushaar, Longworth’s lawyer, said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, given a publication ban on aspects of the case.

“This is obviously a horrible and tragic situation. 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,” Kraushaar said in an emailed statement.