Le Pire

Ten o’clock on the morning of Friday, April 13th, 1979. Thirty-year-old Robert Ride is busy going about his annual spring pilgrimage of setting and baiting muskrat traps. Ride has been at it all morning. He has already placed his small wire traps along the banks of the Massawippi, and is now turning his attentions to the Coaticook River. In his pick-up truck Ride travels south from Waterville to the village of Compton Station. The “village” consists of little more than a grain elevator. From “the Station”, Ride travels east on Chemin de la Station to the floor of the Coaticook valley. He stops near the entrance to a farmhouse, exits his vehicle, and sets some traps along the muddy shores of the Coaticook River. It is a good spot. In the summer and fall the muskrats feed off the corn stalks that grow in the fields adjacent to the banks. Ride gets in his truck, continues down the road about 50 meters and slows just before a small service bridge. Another good spot. Down from the farmhouse, on the other side of the cornfield is a pond of water. The pond is formed by the water runoff that drains from the cornfields. There have been heavy rains this spring; it is a good place to set his traps.

Ride pulls to the side of the road in front of the bridge. He descends from his pick-up truck, climbs over the guardrail, and starts down the steep embankment. He will not need supplies. He has trapped here before, and keeps a stash of materials in the underbrush next to the pond. Ride walks back about 50 feet to the site of a large, old oak tree. To his left is the cornfield – with the farmhouse off in the distance to the back of the field. To his right are the banks of the pond – the village of Compton lies less than a mile away up the other side of the valley. At the base of the oak tree he retrieves the cord of wire he uses for trapping, left in this spot through the long winter months. Ride continues to walk back, hugging the edge of the pond. The banks are muddy. He can see the tiny prints forged in the mud. Muscrat. The perfect spot. He begins to set the traps, continuing to work toward the back of the pond. At about 100 feet back from the road Ride stops. A tree limb has fallen. It traverses the shore, preventing him from continuing up the bank. The tops of the limb extend out into the pond. Ride looks to his right, trying to figure a way around the limb. Tangled in the branches in the pond he sees something. Face down in the water, a body. The skin is a mass of gray. The hair is matted. The corpse is naked except for the bra and underwear that cover it. It is the body of a woman.

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Detectives Roch Gaudreault and Jacques Lessard are dispatched to the scene. The coroner, Michel Durand, and a mobile crime unit arrive soon thereafter. By 12:00 noon the area is crowded with investigators and news photographers. Agent Nick Gregoire takes photographs and draws a precise map of the crime scene. The bridge is 17.8 meters long, 8.6 meters wide. It is located 0.9 miles from Compton, 0.2 miles down from the entrance to the farm. Halfway between the bridge and the farm entrance is a tractor entrance, allowing access to the cornfield. The body lies exactly 34 meters back from the bridge. From the tractor entrance, measured on a diagonal, the body lies 38 meters back.

Detectives break into teams and begin to search the area. In a green garbage bag, by the ditch at the entrance to the farmhouse, they find some women’s clothing, including a pink sweater. In the cornfield they find two pieces of a green scarf. The scarf has been torn in two. One piece lies 19.3 meters on the diagonal from the tractor entrance. The second piece lies 16.4 meters from the first piece, again on a diagonal. The second piece is at a distance of 25.3 meters from the body.

Detective Gaudreault examines the body. The corpse is lying face down in 8 to 10 inches of water. There is a watch on the left wrist. There is also a ring on the left forefinger. There are earrings on both ears. The investigator observes what appear to be marks of strangulation around the neck.

The Coroner is called over to make his determination. Michel Durand examines the body. The face is disfigured from the ice it has lied in all winter. He observes bruise marks under both armpits. He determines it is the body of a young girl between the ages of 17 and 18. He documents that the body weighs approximately 120 to 125 lbs., and measures approximately 5’5” in length. He concludes that this information corresponds to the age, weight and height of the young girl, Theresa Allore, missing from this area since November 3rd, 1978. Coroner Durand requests that an autopsy be undertaken and that dental records be checked to determine if the corpse is that of the young Allore girl. Durand requests that the chief investigator, Corporal Roch Gaudreault of the Surete Du Quebec, be present at the autopsy.

The body is taken to the morgue in Sherbrooke. The investigators contact authorities at Champlain College. They are trying to locate Andre Allore, the brother of Theresa Allore. They want him to make a positive identification. Andre Allore cannot be located. Investigators try to track down Theresa’s friends, but they cannot be found. It is Easter weekend; everyone has gone home for the holiday. Three students, Brian Mimeault, Wendy Ford, and Jocelyne Binette are brought to the morgue. They are not friends of Theresa. They are asked to look at the corps. They are unable to make a positive id on the body.

Late Friday afternoon Corporal Gaudreault locates Mr. Allore visiting relatives in the Province of Ontario. Gaudreault informs Mr. Allore that they have found a body and they think it is Theresa. He tells Mr. Allore about the watch. He tells Mr. Allore about the ring and the earrings. He does not tell him about the strangulation marks. He tells Mr. Allore there are no signs of physical violence on the body. Corporal Gaudreault requests that Mr. Allore authorize an autopsy to be performed so that the cause of death may be determined. Mr. Allore gives his permission. Gaudreault then requests that Mr. Allore travel immediately to the Laboratoire de medicine legale de Montreal so that a positive identification may be made before the autopsy is performed.

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