Police have today charged three adults with the manslaughter of three children in separate, unconnected cases.
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains the first name and image of a person who has died.
- Three adults were arrested today over three unrelated deaths in South Australia
- Police had been investigating the deaths of a seven-year-old boy in February 2022, a six-year-old girl in July 2022, and a 15-year-old girl in 2018
- The three adults will appear in court today
Police said detectives investigating the July 2022 death of six-year-old Charlie arrested a 47-year-old Munno Para woman today and charged her with manslaughter.
The woman has also been charged with criminal neglect in relation to four other children who had been living in the same house.
Detectives investigating the February 2022 death of seven-year-old Makai have arrested a 50-year-old Craigmore man.
The third arrest was a 54-year-old Flagstaff Hill woman, who was charged with the manslaughter of 15-year-old Jasmine Wilmott, who died in October 2018.
Police said the 54-year-old woman was also charged with other criminal offences arising from the same set of circumstances.
All three will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today.
Six-year-old Charlie was found unresponsive at her Munno Para home in the early hours of July 15, 2022, and was taken by paramedics to hospital where she died soon after arrival, while seven-year-old Makai died in hospital on February 10, 2022.
SA Police Assistant Commissioner John Venditto said the three cases were not linked in any way, but the three arrests had been made on the same day because the individual cases had been managed and coordinated by taskforces.
“It’s extremely rare in South Australia to charge an adult for the death of a child,” Assistant Commissioner Venditto said.
“To charge three in one day is unprecedented, but there’s a reason for that.
“The reason is because the three investigations have been managed and coordinated by taskforces.”
SA Police established Taskforce Prime in July 2022 to investigate Charlie’s death, and a fortnight later police referred the death of Makai to the taskforce.
A separate taskforce had been investigating the death of 15-year-old Jasmine.
Assistant Commissioner Venditto said the “facts and circumstances that give rise to a charge of manslaughter are different in each case”.
“What is the same, though, is the adult that’s been charged with manslaughter owed a duty of care to the child at the time,” he said.
“Each adult has been charged with manslaughter of one child.
“It is important to comment publicly on the process in broad terms — it’s important because the deaths of these children is a matter of public interest.”
Premier: ‘I think all South Australians were shocked from these cases’
South Australia’s Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was “shocked to learn of the manslaughter charges”.
“They are significant criminal allegations that will now be dealt with by the courts,” he said.
“I think all South Australians were shocked from these cases, and this important police work has now resulted in very significant charges that only the courts can deal with.”
Mr Malinauskas described the arrests as the “culmination of an extraordinary amount of work that has been put in by South Australian police”.
“Investigating in an area like this, I don’t imagine, is particularly easy on any human being with a sense of compassion and it’s tough work and police should be acknowledged for it,” he said.
“When you bring a child into this world, that brings with it an extraordinary amount of responsibility.
“If people don’t live up to those responsibilities to the extent that tragedies take place, they do potentially face the full force of the law.”