Calgary woman sentenced for death of child in day home
A Calgary woman, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 21-month-old girl in 2012, has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail.
Caitlin Jarosz, a former day home operator, will serve the sentence, minus about 15 days, a judge declared on Wednesday.
The woman addressed the court during her sentencing hearing, tearfully apologizing to the parents and accepting the responsibility for her actions.
“I know there is nothing I can do to take away from the pain you feel,” she said. “I know you’ll bear the loss of Mackenzy the rest of your life. I will as well.”
Following the sentence, Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said that it was a result that the whole team had worked a long time to achieve. “It gives finality to the family and, at the end of the day, it’s the right verdict and it’s the right sentence for Caitlin Jarosz.”
He added that with cases such as this, authorities are always left with unanswered questions. “In this case, there seem to be more, just simply because there was nothing to be able to predict that this was going to occur. There weren’t any red flags for anyone to see. We’re left with having to reconstruct from a medical standpoint to see what caused Mackenzy’s death.”
Jarosz was originally charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of Mackenzy Woolfsmith on May 2, 2012.
A plea deal was reached between the defence and the Crown in the case for the lesser charge of manslaughter in November 2015.
Mackenzy was critically injured in an incident at a day home in the 0-100 block of Elgin Heath S.E. that Jarosz operated.
She was taken to hospital but died the following day.
Jarosz initially told police that the infant had suffered the injuries during a fall down some stairs.
Police found that the little girl’s injuries were inconsistent with Jarosz’s explanation and the investigation was taken over by the Major Crimes Section.
The Medical Examiner determined that Mackenzy died of multiple, blunt-force trauma. Parker said that the injuries were not the result of prolonged abuse, but rather a momentary flash of anger.
Parker said that the inability for Jarosz to come right out with the full story is understandable, especially considering her age. “I think it is always difficult for someone in their 20s to come to terms with what’s occurred and then to be able to put it all down in words. She has been given many opportunities both by police and by the courts.
“She is showing remorse, she has pled guilty, she has cooperated with all the reports. She is remorseful. The specifics? That’s going to be an unanswered question for the family but, from a legal standpoint, that’s not a problem for us.”
Mackenzy’s parents, Dan and Jennifer Woolfsmith said that it wasn’t their job to comment on the sentence given to Jarosz, but were confident that the Crown and judge did exactly what their job entailed.
“We’re just thankful that we’re finally at this point and thankful of all the work that’s been done to get us to this point,” Jennifer said. “We’re focusing on mourning Mackenzy. That’s our job as parents.”
The couple says Jarosz’s tearful apology during the sentencing hearing was the first time they’d heard her speak during all of the proceedings.
“It was nice to hear her speak but, at the end of the day, we don’t have a daughter,” Dan said.
Jennifer told the media there were a lot of mixed emotions for her when she heard Jarosz address the court. “This is somebody we knew. This isn’t just somebody who was a stranger to us that was speaking today.”
They both hope that the focus will stay on their daughter, her life and the hero she became.
“She was a hero through organ donation. That’s a big part,” Jennifer said. “At the end, she was just our little girl and we’re trying to stay focused on her life instead of on her death.”