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Updated: 8th January 2019 19:24

Alberta dad describes finding bodies of slain sons

The former husband of an Alberta woman accused of drowning their two sons during a bitter divorce and custody battle described to a court his horror when he discovered the bodies.

WARNING: this story contains disturbing details

An Alberta man told a Wetaskiwin court he dropped to his knees when he discovered the bodies of his two young sons floating in the family's bathtub two years ago.

On Feb. 1, 2010, police called to tell him his wife, Allyson McConnell, had fallen from an overpass in Edmonton, Curtis McConnell testified.

His first thought, he said at the murder trial of his now ex-wife, was "Where are the kids?"

He decided to go to the family home in Millet, Alta., 40 kilometres south of Edmonton, to check on them.

En route, he received a second call from police saying that Allyson had reassured them the children were being cared for by somebody at the house.

When McConnell arrived at the home at about 3:30 p.m.,the television was blaring and all the lights were on.

Once inside, he realized no one was in the home, McConnell told the hushed courtroom.

He first checked the room of two-year-old Connor, McConnell said as he began to cry.

"It's dark. I'm feeling the pillows of where he slept," he said. "So I go to the next bedroom. The bed's empty."

He noticed the bathroom door was locked shut, which was unusual, as Connor was being potty trained, he said.

He jimmied the door open with a butter knife.

Curtis and Allyson McConnell, with sons Connor and Jayden, in an undated photo. (Facebook)

"I fell to my knees," he told the court.

After removing the boys from tub, he ran to a neighbour's home.

"My kids are dead," he recalled telling her. "Allyson killed them. I can't look at them, but I know they're dead."

Allyson McConnell, 33, is on trial in Wetaskiwin, Alta., for second-degree murder of sons Connor and 10-month-old Jayden.

The McConnells were amid difficult divorce proceedings and a custody battle.

The couple had separated one month after Jayden was born in March 2009.

At first, Curtis McConnell moved to the basement of the Millet home, but moving out eight months later when he filed for divorce.

Allyson wanted to take the boys with her to her native Australia, but her husband fought the move.

The custody battle grew increasingly bitter when a judge ruled the boys had to stay in Canada for the time being.

A forensic computer analyst testified Monday that police found internet searches on the hard drive of Allyson's computer from Jan. 13, 2010, asking, "How long does it take to drown?"

Another search on Feb. 1, 2010, the day the boys drowned, asked, "How long does it take to die from strangulation?"

A third search looked for information on how long it takes a person to overdose on sleeping pills.

Court was told Allyson remains on constant suicide watch — in a severe depression —while in custody at a psychiatric hospital in Edmonton.

The trial is expected to run for two weeks.

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