EDMONTON — Police say a 19-month-old boy found dead outside a church last week was covered in bruises and was horribly abused before he was killed by a blow to the head.
A passerby found the lifeless body of Anthony Joseph Raine outside the Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Edmonton on Friday. The boy was covered with a blanket. Police believe he had been dumped three days earlier.
The toddler's father, Joey Crier, 26, and Crier's girlfriend Tasha Mack, 25, are charged with second-degree murder, criminal negligence causing death, failure to provide the necessaries of life and assault. Crier is also charged with assault causing bodily harm.
Investigators say they don't have a motive.
Anthony Raine's aunt called him "the sweetest little boy you can meet."
"He suffered a lot of trauma,'' homicide Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter said Monday.
"He was living a terrible life full of violence and one that is incredibly sad that you don't even want to speak about. Bruises all over his body and I will leave it at that.''
Anthony was dressed in a light-blue snowsuit and was wearing new shoes — clothing that helped officers identify him thanks to tips from the public.
"He was living a terrible life full of violence ... Bruises all over his body and I will leave it at that."
Two suspects were identified on surveillance video from a nearby grocery store that police released on the weekend.
Hunter said Crier and Mack were arrested on a city bus not long after.
They appeared in court Monday via closed-circuit television and remain in custody until their next court date set for May 8.
Hunter was asked if the family had been involved with social services or police before.
"No, there was nothing,'' he said.
Edmonton police released photos of two "persons of interest" over the weekend.
Family, friends and strangers poured out their grief on a Facebook group titled R.I.P. Anthony Joseph Raine.
A GoFundMe page raising money for the boy's funeral identified the boy's mother as Dalyce Raine from the Louis Bull reserve, a First Nations community south of Edmonton.
"This sweet little man was not registered with our band, so we are fundraising to make a beautiful service,'' reads the GoFundMe page.
"He was the sweetest little boy you can meet.''
People upset by the toddler's death have posted messages of support.
"I am so sorry to Anthony's family on the loss of their sweet baby,'' wrote Karen George. "RIP beautiful boy.''