Canoe News

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Calgary mom to be charged

By JUDY MONCHUK-- The Canadian Press
Canoe News

CALGARY (CP) -- A Japanese woman was crushed to learn she will face murder charges in the deaths of her two infant children, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Rie Fujii, 23, was expected to plead guilty Wednesday to not properly disposing the body of her son, 15-month-old Domenic Brown, whose remains were found in a deserted apartment in June.

Instead, Fujii will face second-degree murder charges involving Domenic and his three-month-old sister Gemini Brown, who is believed to have been wrapped in plastic and dumped in Calgary's fast-flowing Bow River sometime between May 1 and June 5.

Gemini's tiny body has not been recovered.

Lawyer Robert Batting said Fujii was disheartened and depressed by the new charges, which were entered into the Alberta Justice computer system Tuesday morning.

"She was hoping the matter could be resolved," Batting said. "Now she realizes she faces much more serious charges."

He said he expects his client will be found fit to stand trial.

Fujii has been in custody since shortly after Domenic's decomposing body was discovered by a landlord looking to collect the rent. Neighbours in the building reported hearing a baby cry for days, followed by silence.

Police have not said how Domenic died and would not comment on the upgraded charges against Fujii.

There had been speculation Fujii, whose student visa expired more than a year ago, would be deported to Japan after pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

The father of the babies, Peter Brown, is not considered a suspect in the deaths of the children. Police say the couple split up before Gemini's birth and Brown has said Fujii did not allow him to see his children.

Fujii came to Canada in 1997 and briefly attended Mount Royal College. Her parents, who only learned of their grandchildren's existence after Domenic's death in June, have twice travelled from Japan to be with their daughter. They are expected to be with Fujii in court Wednesday.

Batting said he hopes to apply in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench for Fujii's bail -- likely within the next two weeks.

The case has touched Calgarians.

About 60 people -- mostly strangers -- filled a funeral chapel last month to pay their respects to Domenic after no one came forward to claim his body and there were fears he might be buried in a pauper's grave.

It is still uncertain what will happen to the little boy's remains.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.