Mother charged in death of son swept away in swollen On­tario river


The mother of a tod­dler swept into a rag­ing river dur­ing flash flood­ing in On­tario ear­lier this year has been charged in her son’s death, po­lice said Thurs­day.

On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice said they con­ducted a long and thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death of three-year-old Kaden Young, who drowned in the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., when tor­ren­tial rains com­bined with a lateFe­bru­ary thaw caused wide­spread flood­ing in the re­gion.

That in­ves­ti­ga­tion, they said, prompted the charges against K ad en’ s mother, 35-year-old Michelle Han­son of Amaranth, Ont.

She now faces one count each of im­paired driv­ing caus­ing death, dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death, and crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing death.

“The OPP sym­pa­thizes with and ex­presses its heart­felt con­do­lences to the fam­ily of Kaden Young on his tragic loss,” the force said in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the charges. “Po­lice will not com­ment on spe­cific de­tails of the al­le­ga­tions to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the en­su­ing court process.”

Po­lice have con­sis­tently given the same ac­count of how Kaden was swept away on Feb. 21.

They said the child was rid­ing in his mother’s mini­van around 1 a.m. that day when she failed to see a road clo­sure sign and drove onto a dan­ger­ous stretch of ground near the river.

At the time, po­lice said the ve­hi­cle was swept into the swollen wa­ter­way. They said Han­son man­aged to pull Kaden from the ve­hi­cle only to lose her grip on him and see him car­ried off by the rush­ing wa­ter.

In the fol­low­ing weeks, hun­dreds of vol­un­teers flocked to the site to help search for Kaden. A Face­book group ded­i­cated to the search some­times re­ceived posts from Han­son, in­clud­ing even­tual con­fir­ma­tion that her son’s body had been found.

On April 21, a fish­er­man pulled Kaden’s body from the river 13 kilo­me­tres down­stream from where he ini­tially went miss­ing.

“It has been a long, ex­tremely drain­ing two months of search­ing and now has fi­nally come to an end,” Han­son wrote on Face­book at the time. “The amount of sup­port was ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble, and we re­ally can’t thank ev­ery­one enough.”

Po­lice said Han­son is due to ap­pear in court on Nov. 6 in Orangeville.

CHRIS YOUNG/THE Michelle Han­son at­tends a vigil for her son Kaden Young in Bel­wood, Ont., Wed­nes­day, April 25.


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