Charlie Nowland: Adelaide mum arrested over six-year-old’s death

Pictured: Charlie Nowland, six

The mother of a six-year-old girl who died of malnutrition has been arrested and charged with manslaughter and criminal neglect more than nine months after her daughter’s death.

Charlie Nowland was found unconscious on the floor of her family’s Housing Commission home in Munno Para, Adelaide’s northern suburbs, in the early hours of Friday, July 15.

Her mother Crystal Nowland, 47, raised the alarm around 1am, screaming, “Charlie isn’t breathing!”

Police conducted an extensive investigation, but no criminal charges were filed until Wednesday morning, when the mother of six was escorted from her home by detectives.

Along with a manslaughter charge, Ms Nowland was charged with four counts of criminal neglect in connection with the alleged assault of four of her children, aged between eight and 14.

She will face Adelaide Magistrates Court later on Wednesday.

Ms Nowland was one of three people charged with manslaughter in separate cases of alleged neglect.

Crystal Nowland (pictured at her daughter's funeral in August) has been charged with Charlie's death

Crystal Nowland (pictured at her daughter’s funeral in August) has been charged with Charlie’s death

A 50-year-old man from Craigmore, north Adelaide, was charged with manslaughter in connection with the February 2022 death of seven-year-old Makai Wanganeen.

The boy was taken to Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide in February last year and later transferred to Women’s and Children’s Hospital but died the same day. An autopsy identified several serious health problems.

A 54-year-old woman was also charged with manslaughter for the October 2018 death of 15-year-old Jasmine Wilmott.

Months after Charlie died, it was revealed she had celiac disease – a serious autoimmune condition that may have contributed to her death.

Ms Nowland previously insisted she didn’t know Charlie had celiac disease until after her death. The coroner also told her that the little girl had a hereditary heart condition.

“I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m not the mom they made me out to be,” she previously told the Adelaide Advertiser.

She said her children were never without food and she asked family services for more support after her partner was jailed in January last year for stabbing her three times – which took place in front of Charlie.

The grass near the house where Charlie died was overgrown and the yard littered with children's toys (pictured)

The grass near the house where Charlie died was overgrown and the yard littered with children’s toys (pictured)

Ms. Nowland had to relearn how to walk, started having seizures and struggled to remember how to perform basic tasks such as cooking rice or driving a car.

However, the single-parent courses she requested never came to fruition, and despite asking for help, her visits from welfare workers did not increase.

Neighbors claim they contacted the department eight times over a three-week period leading up to Charlie’s death, with the service reportedly holding more than 500 notes related to the little girl.

A previously opened neighbour, Bec, told Daily Mail Australia about the night Charlie died.

“It was about 1am and we were about to go to sleep when we heard this banging on the door. Charlie’s mom screamed “Charlie isn’t breathing!” so we raced there.

“She was lying on the floor in a diaper and she was paper white… and when I touched her she was stone cold and her eyes were open and fixed on the ceiling.

“We did everything we could to try and get Charlie to breathe.”

Bec’s sister desperately tried to resuscitate Charlie.

When they rolled her onto her side, they noticed something in the girl’s mouth.

They frantically tried to clear her airway before rolling her onto her back and trying to resuscitate her.

Paramedics arrived shortly after and worked on Charlie for half an hour.

They tried to clear her trachea to get a breathing tube down her throat.

Bec said, “Paramedics were able to get the breathing tube in after a lot of sucking, but while they managed to get air into her lungs, her heart wouldn’t start.

“They pronounced her dead at the hospital, but she was gone before that.”

Pictured: This last photo taken of Charlie two weeks before her death

Pictured: This last photo taken of Charlie two weeks before her death

The mother-of-five said the image of Charlie on the floor in a diaper, dying on the floor, paper white and stone cold, is etched in her memory.

Bec and her sister tried to keep Charlie’s siblings away from the gruesome scene. They were distraught about what happened to their sister.

She remembered Charlie as a “beautiful” girl who was shy but always had a happy smile and carried a pink teddy bear.

Bec said the “system” had failed Charlie and accused the Department of Child Protection of not doing enough to save her.

Charlie’s funeral in August was funded by the South Australian government.

Her white coffin was decorated with her siblings’ handprints and paper red hearts and adorned with colorful flowers and a stuffed monkey.

Ms Nowland recalled her youngest daughter’s wicked sense of humour, kind heart and love of TikTok, dancing and posing for photos in an emotional tribute.

“Nothing prepares you for the death of your child,” she told the mourners.

“Charlie, we all love you and miss you so much, but we know you’re doing well because you’re up there with the cheeky monkey angels.”

Charlie’s father was denied a day’s release from prison and watched the service via live stream from prison.

Her ashes were scattered at her favorite camping spot along the Murray River.