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B.C. mom charged with second-degree murder in 2021 death of her son

Man was found dead in Port Alberni home in August 2021
RCMP stand outside of a home on 18th Avenue near Argyle Street in Port Alberni where a man was shot to death Aug. 29, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / Alberni Valley News)

A manslaughter charge against a Port Alberni mother accused of killing her son last summer has been upgraded to second-degree murder.

Samantha Dittmer was arrested in August 2021 after her son, Jesse McPhee, was found dead in their home on 18th Avenue in Port Alberni.

Dittmer was initially charged with one count of careless use or storage of a firearm, but this was upgraded to a charge of manslaughter using a firearm.

Just last week, the British Columbia Prosecution Service agreed to increase the charge again to second-degree murder.

“Investigations such as these are complex, which is why often it takes time to secure all evidence to support charges being laid,” said Cst. Richard Johns, media relations officer for the Port Alberni RCMP. “Officers have put in hundreds of hours into this investigation in cooperation with our general duty and forensic identification sections, as well as the BC Coroner’s Service.”

The matter is now before the courts and RCMP say they will not be providing further updates.