(Alberta, Canada: March 2017) Amber Lucius, age 9, was beautiful and and outgoing. Her father, Duane Lucius, remembers the happy ring of her laughter and the warmth of her hugs. Duane says Amber had a wonderful future ahead of her.
Amber will never get to realize that future because she was drugged and burned to death by her vindictive mother, Laura Coward in August 30th 2014. Crown prosecutor Jillian Pawlow says, “The Crown submits that the accused’s primary motivation was revenge-motivated, meant to inflict the most serious and permanent pain and anguish on Duane Lucius by depriving him of his only daughter.“
At the time of the murder, Duane and Laura were involved in a custody dispute. Duane had been fighting for custodial rights and visitation with Amber since 2007, when Laura took her away (news articles imply she was alienating Amber from her father). Duane recently gained sole custody of Amber and was looking forward to their life together.
Duane shares his grief when offering this advise to parents involved in custody disputes,“I have had to bury my child and nothing will bring her back. I can only hope that other children are not being used as bargaining chips in a divorce or used to hurt the other parent.”
Laura Coward will spend life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Brooker said, “Amber was completely vulnerable to and trusting of her mother…It was the ultimate betrayal and breach of trust for Ms. Coward to kill her daughter.”
Duane Lucius’s victim impact statement:
Today is another reminder of my devastating loss. Amber was an innocent child and a selfish act ended her life.
I had only had one year with Amber to renew our bond as father and daughter. During that time Amber was always helping me on the farm and loved playing outside. She was a happy little girl loved by the entire community.
Since the moment Amber was born, she was the light of my life. She was energetic, talkative and full of joy. I will never get to watch my daughter grow up, but I know she would have done great in life.
No sentence will do justice for what has happened to Amber. As a father, I have had to bury my child and nothing will bring her back. I can only hope that other children are not being used as bargaining chips in a divorce or used to hurt the other parent. No parent should ever take a child’s life just to get back at the other. We are supposed to provide our children with love, not scare them. Because of this situation she was taken away from me, and all who loved her, far too soon.
Amber was my life and I will miss her every day until my end. I will never forget her.
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