ALBERTA
09/08/2014 12:49 EDT | Updated 09/08/2014 12:59 EDT

Laura Coward Charged With Murder Of Daughter Amber Lucius

Handout

The mother of a little girl found dead in a car near Sundre, Alta. last week has been charged with first-degree murder.

Laura Coward, 47, has been charged with killing her nine-year-old daughter, Amber Lucius.

Coward was arrested Tuesday when she was found standing outside the vehicle in which her dead daughter was discovered.

She was charged with abducting the girl in violation of a court order, along with break and enter and theft involving a holiday trailer in the area.

Today, RCMP replaced those counts with a first-degree murder charge.

Meanwhile, police released a heart-wrenching statement from the girl's father, Duane Lucius:

"I am devastated by the tragic loss of my innocent, sweet and lovely daughter. My heart is broken. The time I had with Amber was cut short but the time I had with her will always be the most special time of my life.

Amber’s death comes as a terrible shock to all those who had the honour of knowing her, including her family and friends. This loss is felt by our entire community.

Amber was lots of fun. A parent never knows when a child may be taken from them, so I urge you to make the time to have fun with your children, and never take them for granted.

I want to thank the community for all the support I have received since I got this terrible news.

We will be holding a private funeral to mark Amber’s passing later this week."

Court documents describe a bitter divorce between the girl's parents, that saw Amber caught in custody tug-of-war.

Family members have confirmed the couple were involved in ongoing divorce proceedings.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Photo gallery How To Make Divorce And Custody Arrangement Less Stressful For Your Kids See Gallery