'Very complex': Port Alberni RCMP address 4-year gap between boy's death, arrest of mother

Two people have been arrested following the death of six-year-old Dontay Lucas in 2018.

Port Alberni RCMP arrested the boy's mother, Rykel Frank nee Charleson, and her husband, Mitchell Frank, on Friday.

The pair have been charged with first degree murder and were being held in custody until their trial date, RCMP said Saturday.

On Monday, police said they understood there was a long gap between the arrests and the boy's death.

"I empathize with the victim's family. I understand four years is a long time," said Sgt. Clayton Wiebe of the Port Alberni RCMP.

"On television homicides are very easy, but in fact they're not."

Wiebe said that there was an "enormous" amount of material to review and that reports from other agencies, like the RCMP's forensic lab, take time to process.

"We wait sometimes a year for a report," he said, noting that other RCMP detachments use the same service, which can create wait times.

RCMP said they also wanted to make their investigation as thorough as possible before it was sent to trial.

The boy's father, Patrick Lucas, said his son was a "really happy boy."

"His laugh was so contagious," he said Monday.

Lucas says his son was in his mother's care at the time, as Lucas struggled with alcohol addiction and previous periods of incarceration.

"I never got the opportunity to have my kids in my care," he said Monday.

"I'd gone through all the loops, all the things necessary to get my kids back and then some," he said. "I was clean, I was sober, I had a good home, and I was seeking all the help I needed and I still never managed to get my kids in my care."

Lucas says the last time he saw his son was on Dec. 18, 2017.

"We were ice skating and I gave him all his Christmas presents that year," he said.