Mother of girl found dead in rural Alberta charged with first-degree murder

DIDSBURY, Alta. — The mother of a nine-year-old girl found dead in a vehicle on a rural road in west-central Alberta has been charged with first-degree murder.

Laura Coward, who is 47, cried as she appeared in Didsbury court via closed-circuit television.

She was to face charges of abducting the girl in violation of a court order, break and enter and theft.

But RCMP say those counts were replaced by the first-degree murder charge.

Coward was arrested on Tuesday near Sundre when she was found standing outside the vehicle in which her dead daughter, Amber Lucius, was discovered.

Her next court appearance has been set for Oct. 6 in Calgary.

My heart is broken. The time I had with Amber was cut short

Amber’s father, Duane Lucius, says a funeral for his daughter will be held later this week.

He says it’s important that parents not take their children for granted and to make time to “have fun” with them because they could be taken from them at any time.

Lucius says he is devastated by the loss of his “innocent, sweet and lovely daughter.”

“My heart is broken. The time I had with Amber was cut short but the time I had with her will always be the most special time of my life,” he said in a statement released Monday.

Court documents describe the bitter divorce of Lucius and Coward and a custody tug-of-war over their daughter that continued up until the girl was found dead.

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