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Mother, stepfather plead guilty to manslaughter in death of 6-year-old in Port Alberni

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The mother and stepfather of a six-year-old boy who died on Vancouver Island in 2018 have pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with his death.

Dontay Patrick Lucas was found in medical distress inside the Port Alberni, B.C., townhome he shared with his mother on March 13, 2018. The boy was rushed to hospital but did not survive.

Two weeks later, the Port Alberni RCMP confirmed the death was considered suspicious. In May 2022, the Mounties announced first-degree murder charges against Rykel Frank, 28, and Mitchell Frank, 29.

The pair pleaded guilty in a Port Alberni courtroom Monday to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Following the arrest of the mother and stepfather, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council issued a statement calling the charges "a huge relief" to the Indigenous community.

"When the death is due to family violence, we know there is still healing to be done in our communities from residential schools, racism, and colonization," tribal council president Judith Sayers wrote in the statement.

Dontay's father Patrick Lucas has been fighting for answers in his son's death for more than five years.

He told CTV News in 2021 that he was initially told that Dontay had fallen down the stairs and hit his head in the 8th Avenue townhome. He was later told his son had bite marks on his body, Lucas said.

Mitchell and Rykel Frank are expected to be sentenced in May 2024.

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