08/05/2016 12:06 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 12:59 EDT

Elmarie Simons Charged In Calgary Toddler's Death At Dayhome

Ceira Lynn's Memorial Fund/GoFundMe

CALGARY — The operator of an unlicensed day home in Calgary has been charged in the death of a toddler.

Officers were called about a child not breathing at a southwest Calgary home on Nov. 12, 2015.

Police said 18-month-old Ceira Lynn McGrath was transported to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Homicide investigators said they later determined her death was criminal.

Was left unattended in a car seat

"We believe that the infant went into medical distress after being left unattended in a car seat for a prolonged period of time,'' Staff Sgt. Doug Andrus said Thursday.

He added that there were two other children in the home at the time, including Ceira's twin brother.

Elmarie Simons, 57, faces one count of criminal negligence causing death.

Andrus said it's not unusual for charges in child deaths to be delayed.

"There are tests we do on infants that we don't do on adults and they take a prolonged period of time,'' he said.

Family issued statement

The McGrath family issued a statement thanking police for their efforts.

"Everything our family has believed about the death of our perfectly healthy little girl was sadly confirmed. We still struggle every day; and can't believe our daughter and sister has been taken from us,'' said the statement from Ryan, Tanya and Colby McGrath.

"This type of cruelty towards a vulnerable child is unthinkable. However, we are pleased today and thankful for the tireless work of the Calgary Police service that at least brings some accountability in her passing.''

Simons was still running day home

Andrus said Simons had still been operating the day home up until her arrest Wednesday.

He cautioned parents to be careful when choosing someone to look after their children.

"Parents can place their children where they want. What I can add to that though is parents should do their due diligence before placing their children into the care of a facility, whether it's licensed or unlicensed.''

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