Tuesday, 26 Sep 2023

Heartbreak for family left without answers after toddler’s tragic death

The heartbroken family of a toddler who died in unknown circumstances has been issued an apology after medics were unable to confirm her cause of death.

Isla-Mae Oates, from Solihull, died aged two in late 2022 while living with foster parents on a farm in the West Midlands.

An inquest at Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard the “healthy” youngster was pronounced dead on December 17 by doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, less than 24 hours after she fell ill in the middle of the night.

A following investigation failed to pinpoint an exact cause of death, with experts only able to theorise how she died that day.

Isla-Mae’s relatives have told of their devastation of discovering they may never understand how the “force of nature” toddler was taken from them so soon.

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Birmingham Live reported that a joint investigation fronted by police and clinicians produced two cause-of-death theories.

These included death by ingesting rat poison or inhaling carbon monoxide, but they were both dismissed by authorities.

Written statements from medics concluded that she may have died from a “rapidly aggressive infection”, and Detective Inspector James Edmonds from West Midlands Police said a “medical cause of death” was most likely.

But he added: “Neither [medical] examination has been unable to identify a primary cause.”

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The court heard that medics found occupants of the working farm where she lived were struck down with COVID-like symptoms when they attended the property, but there was no indication this was the cause of death.

The toddler’s biological family members were in attendance as the coroner concluded there was no decisive conclusion surrounding her death.

Her mother, Louise, described her as a “force of nature with an infectious laugh and a smile that would light up a room”.

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The mum added: “She would get so excited to see you even if she had seen you just two minutes before. She will be forever loved and never forgotten.”

Assistant Coroner Ian Dreelan apologised to the family and told how “unusual” it is for investigators not to clarify a cause of death.

Mr Dreelan said: “I’m very sorry you’ve not had a conclusion. It’s very unusual to not be able to come up with a cause of death. It does seem there was a medical cause of death [but] doctors can’t understand what it was.”

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