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Alberta mother charged in deaths of two young sons

The mother of two little boys found dead in the bathtub of their Millet, Alta., home has been charged with their murder.

RCMP say Allyson McConnell, who is now in custody in a medical facility under 24-hour watch, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of 10-month-old Jayden and his two-and-a-half-year-old brother Connor.

Friends of the family have said the bodies of the little boys were found on Feb. 1 by their father, Curtis McConnell, who rushed home after police called him to tell him his wife was in hospital.

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Police have said a woman tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge that afternoon, but haven't confirmed she was Ms. McConnell, who is an Australian citizen.

Court documents show the family was in the midst of a bitter divorce. Custody of the children was a major issue, especially since Allyson had expressed a desire to return to Australia.

In an affidavit, Curtis said Allyson had been threatening me that she wants to move back to Australia with our children. I am fearful that she will attempt to do this without my consent or knowledge.

"I have taken our children's passports for safekeeping."

A statement of defence filed on behalf of Allyson noted that she has limited family contacts in Alberta but "a broad network of support in Australia" and would "be entitled to significant government financial support should she return to Australia."

The document also says she would have better professional opportunities in Australia.

A final decision in the case was not made, but the judge had ruled the children should stay in Alberta under joint custody, staying with Allyson, while the matter was being sorted out.

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Ms. McConnell is scheduled to appear in Wetaskiwin provincial court on March 16, 2010.

Millet is about 40 kilometres south of Edmonton.

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