SASKATOON - The opening day of a trial for a woman charged in the drowning death of a foster child heard Monday that the boy turned on the hot water taps himself.
Eunice Wudrich is charged with criminal negligence causing the death of 22-month-old Evander Lee Daniels in June 2010.
Social worker Danene Scott testified that Wudrich told her she had given the boy a bath and he turned on the water after she left.
Scott said Wudrich’s home was approved for three foster children, but she was caring for five kids — all under four — plus her biological child at the time the boy died.
In-home support had been requested for Wudrich, but hadn't come through.
The social worker also told the judge hearing the case that Wudrich revealed after the boy died that she had a hearing impairment, something that had never come up before.
The bathroom was on the same level as the kitchen and living room.
The Wudrich home had been investigated once before for an infant that wasn't gaining weight, but it was deemed a health issue that wasn't the family's fault.
The defence told court that 34 children died in Saskatchewan foster care in 2010 and that overcrowding in foster homes was a major issue that year.
Wudrich’s mother testified that she remembers talking to her daughter on the phone before the toddler died. She recalled that Wudrich told her she was about to bathe a little girl who had hurt her leg. The mother found out afterwards that Wudrich had taken the little girl to the kitchen while Evander was still in the tub.
She told the judge that Wudrich has cried every day since the boy's death and that the foster mom treated all the children as if they were her own.
Dennis Wudrich, the accused's husband, described Evander as inquisitive, busy and “really smart” but a bit behind in his motor skills.
Wudrich said he and his wife took on two additional foster children “because we have hearts.” The couple didn’t want youngsters sent to group homes.