Spontaneous Combustion / Catherine Daviau & Valérie Leblanc – WKT5 #13

https://www.spreaker.com/user/12732193/wkt5-13-8-21-21-10-40-am

Catherine Daviau

In the matter of the murder of Catherine Daviau, the Montreal police would rather the public not know precisely how she died. But I’ll tell you right now that Catherine Daviau was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and stomach, bound with zip ties on the bed of her Rosemont apartment, the room set on fire using her perfume as an accelerant, December 11th, 2008.

This is Who Killed Theresa

What the police said

The following is the official notice from the Montreal Police / SPVM on the death of Catherine Daviau:

“Thursday, December 11, 2008, Catherine DAVIAU 26 years old, a young woman was found lifeless in her apartment in the Rosemont district during an intervention by the Montreal fire department at her home located at 5165 5th Avenue following a call to “911” from a neighbor who had noticed the fire.

Following the discovery of the body, the Montreal firefighters called on the SPVM. During the response, the police quickly found that the young woman had been the victim of a murder. Catherine DAVIAU was found on the bed of her room, she bore signs of violence. Investigators from the Major Crimes Section of the SPVM suspect that the attacker started the fire to hide his crime.

5165 5th Avenue in the Rosemont district, Montreal

During the investigation, the police learned that that day Catherine DAVIAU had worked all day at a company on the West Island of Montreal as she has been doing for several years. After her shift, around 4:30 p.m., she left her work to return home by car, taking Highway 40 eastbound. Given the heavy traffic that day, police estimate that she would have arrived home about an hour later. The investigation also reveals that the victim had used her cellular device shortly after 5:30 p.m. to communicate with an acquaintance.

A neighbor called “911” at around 7:07 pm. When the firefighters arrived, all the exits were closed and locked, which suggests that the victim let her attacker in and that there was no call of a break-in.

Given the victim’s likely arrival at her home and the time of the call to “911”, the perpetrator’s window of opportunity was a little over an hour .

As part of the SPVM investigation for several years, Catherine DAVIAU’s family, neighbors, friends and acquaintances were met by the police, but to date no solid investigative lead has been identified in order to elucidate the gratuitous murder of this uneventful young woman, brutally assaulted, inside her home in the Rosemont district.

Through this process, the SPVM is asking the public for assistance in order to identify the perpetrator of this violent crime. Anyone with information is asked to contact the SPVM, either by dialing 911, by going to a neighborhood police station, through our website or, anonymously, by contacting Info-Crime Montreal at 514-393-1123. Each information received will be processed and analyzed. The case will remain open until it is resolved.”

Some things you can deduce from this information: 5165 5e, that’s a nice area in the Rosemont district, wedged between Parc Extension and Hochelaga, east, in the shadow of the Surete du Quebec headquarters. It’s evident that the notice is made years after the 2008 murder, exactly when we don’t know. There’s a short video made by the SPVM that goes along with the notice, and that video was posted to YouTube in December 2017, so possibly nine years after the murder. This seems about right as the Montreal Police only created their cold case unit in December 2018. We’ve talked about how – to date – the SPVM has only posted 4 cold cases on that website, even though they have approximately 800 under their investigative mandate, Catherine Daviau is one of those four. For a suspect, they lean heavily on Catherine’s friends and family to develop clues, but come up empty. When that happens, the difficulty is the case becomes more and more reliant on police investigation. There’s a suspect out there, and only their expertise is going to find them.

Daviau crime scene

One final thing, the case has never been covered by Montreal’s English language paper, The Gazette. As we’ve seen, this can happen. French papers tend to stick with French victims, where family members can be easily interviewed, and the same applies for English papers. Even CBC Montreal has done little beyond publishing the SPVM press releases, most of the in depth reporting has come from La Presse and Journal de Montreal. I questioned The Gazette about this, and was never given a satisfactory answer as to the lack of attention. It seems especially odd as Catherine Davieau appeared to be fluently bilingual (her mother’s maiden name is Schneider).

10th Anniversary Update

In March 2018 the Montreal Police provided updates on the case, presumably as a 10th anniversary push to try and advance the cold case. In the TVA program, JE they disclose that “tie wraps” or zip ties were used to restrain Catherine, even going to the extraordinary step of releasing crime scene photos of the exhibit evidence. The police inform the public that this is a definite indication that the murder was planned ( I suppose further re-enforcing that the assailant could have worked within the under-an-hour timeline if they had premeditated there actions).

The SPVM further disclose that they have physical evidence left at the scene of the crime, but do not say whether that is fingerprints or DNA. It becomes fairly obvious that it’s DNA, when in their next breath they disclose that the assailant smoked Player’s filtered cigarettes.

For the first time, Catherine’s younger sister, Geneviève, is interviewed about the murder:

“We already knew that Catherine would have returned from her work around 6 pm. She lived alone in an apartment on 5th Avenue. At 7:07 p.m., a neighbor called 911 to report a fire. It doesn’t leave a lot of time anyway. I still can’t believe that no one noticed someone or something fishy that evening,”

“Nouveaux éléments concernant le meurtre sordide de Catherine Daviau”, MARIE-CHRISTINE BERGERON, Journal de Montreal, March 15, 2018

After smashing down the apartment door, fire fighters found Catherine’s body naked on her bed.  It is here that investigators also reveal that the man – it is the first time they disclose it was a man, presumably also derived from the DNA evidence – used Catherine’s perfume as an accelerator to start the fire, again releasing a photo of the crime scene evidence:

Evidence 23: Catherine Daviau’s perfume

“It tells us that the aggressor arrived on site with a plan, a plan already made. He knew what he wanted to do, that he wanted to tie up the victim to control her. So, it is clear that there is a premeditation. This guy may have followed or observed Catherine in her routine perhaps a few days or some time before to see her routine, ”

Investigator Antonio Paradiso of the SPVM.

The SPVM then go on to explain the nature of a cold case in patterned language that is all too familiar to readers of this website:

“The murder files remain active for two years. If after two years the investigation has not succeeded, in the jargon, we will say that it is a “cold case”. Then the file will be put on hold and my investigators will revise these files sporadically with the new information that comes in. These kinds of files, like Catherine’s, are never closed, ”

SPVM Commander Vincent Rozon
Evidence 2: Zip tie

At the start of the investigation, the police refused to say whether Catherine had been sexually assaulted. By 2018, they had confirmed it, but refused to disclose the cause of her death:

“It’s important for investigators to keep certain items confidential, items secret. We call that “hold back”. If it is information that the suspect left at the scene and it is not mentioned outside the file, if one day some people talk about something that has never been said in the public, we will know that this is good information and we will treat it as a priority, ”

SPVM Investigator Paradiso.

Well I’m telling you right here and now that Catherine Daviau was stabbed repeatedly in the throat and stomach, as reported in her coroner report released over two years after her murder in 2010. It’s not very good hold-back evidence if that evidence is readily available to the public, and the coroner invites you to disclose it. Here I’ll translate what the Quebec coroner sent me:

“Mr. John Allore,


Enclosed you will find the coroner’s investigation report on the death by Catherine Daviau. Please note that coroners’ reports are public documents. They can therefore be given to anyone who requests it, including media representatives.


Please accept, Mr. John Allore, the expression of our distinguished feelings.”

letter from coroner

I swear, the Journal de Montreal, they do a lot of good in these types of stories in disclosing information to the public, but it is all told through the lens of Quebec police. In this manner the JdM’s relationship with the SPVM is no better than Jack Webb’s Dragnet in the 50s and 60s, the popular crime television series was practically produced by the LAPD.

DNA Phenotyping

In December 2018, the Montreal Police announce that they have managed to develop a composite photo of Catherine Daviau’s assailant using advanced DNA techniques. The SPVM sent a DNA sample of the suspect found at the crime scene – presumably from the cigarette butt of the Player’s filter cigarette – to the United States to draw a composite image using a ground-breaking technique called phenotyping. 

“It is a method of analyzing DNA samples that makes it possible to obtain probable physical characteristics of an unidentified person”, explained commander of the major crimes section of the SPVM, Pascal Côté. 

The color of hair, eyes, skin and “certain morphological characteristics of the face” are among the elements that can emerge from such an analysis. 

The composite was shown to Catherine Daviau’s entourage,  but the SPVM refused to make the image public:

“The composite will not be made public… It could mislead the population and even the investigators in error… It should be understood that a robot portrait produced by the testimony of a person has much more value today with the technologies that are within our reach. A witness sees the length of the hair, the age of the person, certain characteristics that cannot be determined by a DNA sample. A composite portrait drawn from a DNA sample will be more generic,”

Pascal Côté – SPVM

The composite portrait drawn from the DNA cannot, among other things, reflect the age of the suspect, explained Pascal Côté. At that time in 2018 – ten years after Catherine’s murder, detectives were still investigating the hypothesis that Catherine Daviau may have been killed by someone she knew. It is particularly for this reason that they showed the composite portrait only to the entourage of young woman in Catherine’s social circle. 

Again, this is troubling. The SPVM had been working the same hypothesis for a decade and gotten nowhere. Why did they think limiting the composite to a small circle of friends would get them any further? It’s the easiest investigative approach, but after ten years not really the one required. The SPVM told someone I know acquainted with the case that they are convinced Daviau was murdered by “de ses relations”, meaning someone she knew. I get why they think this, but operating only on this theory is absurd. Remember in the episode, Why Murders Are Unsolved, Montreal Police originally assumed the Wayne Boden murders were committed by someone the victims knew well, because the assailant gained easy access to the victims’ apartments. It wasn’t until after Boden was apprehended that police realized Boden wasn’t a close associate of any of the victims, he was a confidence man who barely knew them but managed to quickly manipulate his way into their lives, proving the Montreal Police has a real habit of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Of course the story and the interviews were handed directly to the Journal de Montreal. It’s informative, but again, unprofessional, and pure police propaganda. For 50 years the JdM has been a mouthpiece for whatever message Quebec police want to spin. In my sister’s case it was planting a story about a drug addict, then never visiting the case again. As we’ve discussed with the Teresa Martin case in 1969, again, the planting of a drug addict story to deflect attention away from the real story – that the Montreal police had screwed up in getting too close with biker gangs. These were attempts by the police to draw the public’s attention away from a problem, weaponizing the highest circulated newspaper in the province to do so. It’s a situation straight out of 60s American television:

“This is the city… It was Thursday, December 11th, we were working the night watch out of Bunko Division. My partner’s Antonio Paradiso, the boss is Commander Rozon. My name’s Friday….”

Dragnet – Season 1, episode 2 – Big Actor

DNA phenotyping is the process of predicting a person’s physical appearance and/or biogeographic ancestry for forensic purposes using only genetic information collected from genotyping or DNA sequencing. This term, also known as molecular photofitting.

It is believed to have been first used in 2015 to help solve the 2011 murders of Candra Alston and her three-year-old daughter. Police in Columbia, South Carolina, issued a press release containing what is thought to be the first composite image to be published entirely on the basis of a DNA sample. This lead to the arrest of Kenneth Canzater, who was charged with the murders in 2017.

Phenotype composite for the Ljubica Topic case. The technology cannot predict the age of the assailant.

In Canada the technique is believed to have been first used in 2016 when Windsor police released a composite of the suspect responsible for the abduction and murder of six-year-old Ljubica Topic in 1971. This was the first public release of a phenotyping composite outside of the United States and the oldest case to apply the technology.

Phenotyping is like the Zizzlingers of forensic science. Just add water, you never know who you’re gonna get.

Disney Princess Zizzlingers

And what of phenotyping related to solving other cold cases in Quebec? Are there plans to test other cold case evidence? There exists male DNA evidence in my sister’s case, will that sample be sent to the United States for phenotyping? I might like some confirmation that after phenotyping, the offender tends to resemble Luc Gregoire, who died in Archambault in 2015 after his sentencing for the Calgary murder of Lanie Silva. I have three victim rendered composites (2 from Sherbrooke, one from Montreal) that demonstrate a man resembling Gregoire was a serial sexual predator active in Quebec in the late 1970s. It would be nice to have genetic confirmation. It’s an expensive technique; so what is the rationale of testing only the Daviau evidence? What about the Teresa Martin case, shouldn’t the method be, oldest cases are the first ones tested? Or maybe it is the newest cases, while memories are still fresh. I know, I’m being a little overly ambitious by daring to suggest that perhaps there should be a strategic, coordinated effort here.

What about any number of cases, like Valerie Leblanc?

Valerie Leblanc

Valerie Leblanc, 18, was found dead in a forest behind her Gatineau, Que., school Cegep de l’Outaouais.

In 2011 Valérie Leblanc was an 18-year-old student at the Cégep de l’Outaouais in Hull. The city of Hull rests across the Ottawa River from the Canadian Capital of Ottawa. In fact the river defines the border between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

On August 23, 2011, her badly beaten and burned corpse was discovered in the woods behind the campus of Cégep de l’Outaouais. Two students found the body around 4 p.m. near the bike path behind the school’s Campus Gabrielle-Roy. As reported by CBC News, Josianne Tardif was having a cigarette on the path with her friends – the place was a popular spot for local teenagers – when they came upon the body.

“She was lying down on her front, her legs were broken,” said Tardif, “at the time we didn’t believe it was real.” The two students originally thought the body was a mannequin, until they moved closer. “We kind of smelled the dead body burning, that’s when we realized what you saw. It was really excruciating,” she said. Leblanc’s body was transported to Montreal to process the autopsy. At the time, Gatineau police said the death was considered suspicious.

The location where the body was found was near a spot where in March 2010 a woman was found badly burned in what police later called an attempted suicide. The similarity of the incidents led some at the school and family members of Leblanc to speculate they were connected. But police said the 2010 incident was still considered an attempted suicide, while admitting that Leblanc’s “suspicious” death was not a suicide.

Body Tampering

Two days later, Gatineau police announced that Valerie Leblanc died from head trauma. They refused to comment further on the case, but said it did not appear the body had been moved from another location. Patrols consisting of the Gatineau police bicycle squad and the RCMP began to canvas the grounds and paths of the college campus. Police said they had no suspects in the homicide investigation.

Police then announced they had opened a second investigation into whether people who first came upon the body may have “manipulated” it. “Certain actions were taken by the people who discovered the body of Valérie Leblanc, so there is a second investigation to the one of murder,” said Gatineau police spokesman Sgt. Jean-Paul Le May. Le May went on to say that there were four suspects in the second investigation, which also included allegations of obstructing the homicide investigation. He said the people involved in the second investigation were not believed to be involved in the death of Leblanc. According to Le May, the four suspects may have potentially compromised the homicide investigation.

Eventually police revealed that the four suspects were teenagers who told police they were walking through the park when they saw smoke rising from an off-trail area. They went to investigate, and discovered Leblanc’s body with evidence of burns and other signs of violence. The teens later told police that they did not realize the body was real, so they returned to class. Eventually they decided something was wrong and phoned police.

The press reported that Leblanc and her boyfriend had recently broken up, and that they were seen entering the woods together that Tuesday morning. But police, while confirming the split between the couple, said that investigators met with the boyfriend and that he was not considered a suspect. Leblanc was a first year student at the cegep / college, according to police. She died on the first day of school of the fall semester.

Police release sketch of ‘important witness’

Police issued this sketch of a witness to be identified several months after Valérie Leblanc’s body was found in August 2011. (Gatineau Police)

Two months later the trail from Valerie Leblanc’s murder goes cold. Valerie’s mother holds a press conference pleading for the public’s help. “We want the police officers to find who is responsible for this horrible murder and make sure the person is arrested and convicted,” she says.

Gatineau Police say they still have no suspects, but they do release a sketch of a man described as an “important witness” in the slaying who was seen wearing a black hat. They say there have been more than 500 tips related to this homicide investigation and repeat their call for more information. The force also offers a $10,000 reward for information related to the case. The “important witness” is described as a white man in his 20s, about six feet tall and 200 pounds, with a chubby face, short black hair, no facial hair and a pot belly. He is French-speaking. He also had a summer tan “with a particular olive complexion.” He has a pointy nose and walks with a limp. He may have been riding a bicycle. The bicycle is described as a mountain bike with straight handlebars. Police say the bike appears to be a lower end model and that it had mountain or hybrid tires.

The witness was also said to be wearing an open black nylon jacket, along with a black T-shirt with a red and golden logo, a black cap and black wrinkled pants. He was walking decisively and looked worried. Later other witnesses claim the man was not wearing a black cap, but of course by this time police had already released their composite showing the man in a black hat. The Gatineau police declared they had no suspects but their chief defended the investigation, saying they did not believe the case should be turned over to the more experienced provincial police, the Surete du Quebec.

By December 2011, with still no progress on the murder investigation, the office of the Crown attorney announces that no charges will be laid in the matter of tampering with Valérie Leblanc’s body. Police reveal that originally four teenagers were suspected to have tampered with the murder scene. However, three were cleared by police in September, with the fourth person cleared in December. Officials say there is no discrepancy as to whether or not the body was tampered with, but they will not move forward with charges based on the evidence. It’s never quite clear what exactly the nature of the body tampering was, but many assume it was either the setting of the corps on fire, or the breaking of the legs. “Of course they touched (the body), but we cannot say how,” a police spokesman explained at the time.

Leblanc memorial vandalized

Police are investigating the desecration of a memorial to Valerie Leblanc, whose death remains unsolved more than a year after her killing. (Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun)

On the one year anniversary of her death, a memorial to Valerie Leblanc erected along the bike path where she was found is vandalized. Valerie’s grandmother says she believes the person(s) who desecrated the memorial could be linked to the killing.

“They say a murderer or some murderers always come back to the site of their act,” said Huguette Leblanc, “It could be that, too, it’s starting to affect them inside and in their head.”

At exactly 4 p.m. – one year to the hour that his granddaughter’s body was discovered – Bert Leblanc went to visit the memorial site and discovered it had been trashed — a cross was broken, a commemorative plaque cracked, a picture of Valerie had the face scratched out and a crucifix with a wolf’s head on it had been unearthed. He also found cases of beer and broken bottles scattered around the memorial site. Bert Leblanc shared his experience with the Gatineau Police but they said it was too early in the investigation to draw any possible links between the vandalism and the murder.

Now… given that you had no leads and no suspects, wouldn’t you take the vandalism a little more seriously? For the sake of the family, wouldn’t you – at the very least – give the appearance that you were taking it seriously and not dismissing the incident outright? Given how much the family had suffered, given that you already had the evidence of body tampering, conducted by teenagers, given that your lack of experience had already been called into question… wouldn’t you, as the investigating force, start to focus the investigation closer to home, and stop pinning your hopes on an phantom “important witness” who may not even exist. A figment who may have been created by those teenagers to throw the focus of the investigation in a direction other than the Cégep de l’Outaouais.

Claude Poirier

Claude Poirier

It didn’t take long for the Valerie Leblanc investigation to devolve into the circus it was destined to become. This is what happens when you have a police force that is completely out of their depth with criminal matters, they become prey to outside elements that – with the best intentions – manage to complicate and confuse things even further.

Enter Claude Poirier.

In the fall of 2013, the second anniversary of Valérie Leblanc’s murder, Claude Poirier hosts a television call-in show on Quebec’s TVA television station. On the TVA program an anonymous caller claimed Leblanc’s killer committed suicide a month after the 18-year-old’s mutilated and burned body was found behind the CEGEP de l’Outaouais in August, 2011. The caller to Claude Poirier’s show, who claimed to be resident of Gatineau, said he received his information from an unnamed, recently retired police officer.

“We must come to an end with this atrocity there,” he told TVA host Poirier. “I hold information that will confirm that we will never find the perpetrator of Valerie Leblanc, because the individual has committed suicide not long after in the Gatineau Park.”

Police quickly qualify this information as “unfounded”. Claude Poirier confirms that he receives lots of information on the Leblanc investigation: “I received information on my voicemail, on my site, on my pager. I passed everything on to two lieutenants. Still, I received extremely plausible things, ”he says.

Valerie’s grandmother, Huguette Leblanc, says the one thing that seems to make common sense, that the assertion is difficult to believe. “I’m glad people are still talking about it, but I don’t believe it,” she said. “I doubt a police officer would talk like that. If it was true, there would be proof, we’d already know about it. My feeling is people like to say things to get attention.”

“It’s bringing me down so much”

Valérie Leblanc, 18, was just beginning her second year at CEGEP de l’Outaouais in Gatineau when she was found dead in a forest behind her school.

Nine years later and police still hadn’t gotten very far with the Valérie Leblanc murder investigation. Valerie’s mother does annual press conferences to try and keep the case alive.

“I just miss her …  and every year that goes on, it’s like we’re going [through] that again. It’s bringing me down so much,” Leblanc’s mother Julie Charron tells CBC News.

Gatineau police continue to state that they would like to speak with the male witness from their issued sketch. “We’re still at the point where we would like to meet with the important witness in our case,” says Jean-Paul Lemay of the Gatineau Police Service.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Gatineau Police Service’s homicide line at 819 243-INFO (4636).

By 2020 Claude Poirier had conducted his own investigation in the hope of shedding light on the homicide, on his program, Poirier Enquete. The Poirier problem is that he’s just like Dragnet. Another Quebecor / TVA product, there’s no objective distance, he is right in the police’s pocket. And there’s the added danger of when Poirier goes rogue; like he did with the anonymous caller on the 2013 television program, as he did with the 1997 disappearance of Cédrika Provencher.

———————————

I suspect that police already know this, but have elected to put up a front. The best suspect is not some “important witness” who may or may not exist. The best suspect in the Valerie Leblanc case – and I feel this is something very different from the Catherine Daviau case – is, in fact, someone closely associated with her at the cegep campus in Hull.

Leblanc’s coroner’s report is not very telling, but it does reveal this:

“[Mme Leblanc] had gone to the wooded area behind the CEGEP, which is very popular with students, with a friend around 1 pm. The friend in question left the woods some thirty minutes later. Other students found Mme Leblanc there dead and made a call to 911 at around 3:55 p.m.”

We know from press reports that the “friend” is Valérie’s boyfriend with whom she had recently broken up. Two go in, one comes out. And there is an approximate two-and-a-half hour window in which the body tampering could have occurred. I would guess that the boyfriend is the police’s prime suspect. There simply are no witnesses – or none ready to tell what they know – and the boyfriend hasn’t ever broken, he won’t confess.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth study of the Valerie Leblanc case, check out the podcast Synthèses, produced by QUB Radio ( yet another Quebecor offering). Synthèses is the brainchild of Boris Proulx and Julien Morissette, and they’ve now produced two series on unsolved murders, the one on Leblanc and a second series on the death of Louise Chaput, a 52-year-old Quebec woman whose body was found in 2001 at Pinkham Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Their podcasts for a time were hard to find, but they’ve recently been posted on Apple Podcasts.( I’ve posted the link here). Morissette and Proulx’s work is excellent, definitely worth checking out. The only problem is they are in French, so you need to brush up on your Parlez-Vous.

Louis Chaput was from Sherbrooke, which is as good a transition as you’re gonna get for our next segment….

“We will shine a light on these events”

Sherbrooke Police Chief Danny McConnell explained that a witness at the scene said somebody had lit a mannequin on fire.

Now those that know me have already guessed where this is all leading to, why I chose to tell these stories at this particular point in time. For years, I have been asked to cover the cases of Daviau and Leblanc. I just have never been able to find quite the right hook, the right angle. It’s one thing for some teenagers to mistake a burnt body for a mannequin, they’re kids, not professional investigators. We even begin the book Wish You Were Here with the discovery of the body and how the muskrat trapper thought the victim was a mannequin. That’s a true story, but we also wanted to play off the old trope – because it always seems that crime stories begin this way, with an old cliche, but then we wanted to take the book in a very different direction.

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when police and fire fighters from the city of Sherbrooke, Quebec literally mistook a burning body for a mannequin, and then collectively made the decision to dispose of said mannequin in a nearby dumpster.

———————–

On the morning of July 23, 2021, police and firefighters responded to a call made by employees on break from the AMF Factory in southern Sherbrooke. The workers say they saw someone set fire to a mannequin in a wooded area at the corner of Rue Cabana and Roy. According to Sherbrooke police chief Danny McConnell, the body was initially believed to be a silicone dummy. After discussions between police and firefighters, it was decided the best way to dispose of the mannequin was to put it into a dumpster behind the police station.

Four hours later, a man reported the disappearance of his partner. Police tracked her cell phone and found her vehicle near the scene of the fire. The woman’s description matched that of the supposed mannequin. Police, noting the coincidence, decided at 6:30 p.m. to check the dumpster and discovered the mannequin was… ya, the rest writes itself.

According to CTV News, the coroner’s office, Crown and independent bureau of investigators (BEI) are all looking into the situation. Police are investigating it as a suspicious death. In a news conference McConnell offered his condolences to the woman’s family. “We are obviously sorry for this incident and we assure you the family will be advised throughout this investigation,” he said. Sherbrooke fire chief Stephane Simoneau said many firefighters were shocked by the discovery and he is concerned about the psychological toll the situation may cause, adding that he is personally taking on the responsibility to determine what exactly occurred.

“We will shine a light on these events over the next few weeks,” he said. 

On the subject of shining light, what I find interesting is the dark blanket that appears to have been thrown over this matter. From what I can tell, most of the reporting from the initial week of the incident -from July 22 when the body was discovered to the following week – has been wiped from the internet, the majority of coverage only picks up a week later on July 29, from the point of the police apology. What has also been dropped is that the AMF workers say they saw someone light a body on fire. In later news coverage the reporting only says a police responded to a body on fire, but you can hear it as clear as day on this CBC report:

The story that has emerged is that a woman in her 60s appears to have taken her own life, but there’s no telling that that is actually what occurred. We’ve seen this before, burning the victim or crime scene to obfuscate the murder, most notably the case of Diane Thibeault, but also in the Catherine Daviau case, and possibly also with Valerie Leblanc. Full disclosure; the only thing connecting the Daviau and Leblanc cases is the burning of the victims, apart from that I see little in common with their dossiers.

Far from shining light, the police have maintained stone silence since the public apology on July 29. As Viatka Sundborg reported in the French language, le Soleil, “”Silence” is the watchword in the file”. Here I’ll read from Sundborg’s August 3rd article, what appears to be the last word on the matter for the time being:

“An investigation by the coroner’s office is underway, says Jake Lamotta Granato, responsible for communications and media relations. “M. Richard Drapeau is responsible for this file and no comments will be made before the publication of the report,” he adds. 

Ten days after the tragedy, the same questions as last week therefore remain unanswered. The identity of the victim remains unknown, in addition to the circumstances of their death. All say they are waiting for the coroner’s report before commenting further on the tragedy….

According to the Bureau du coroner du Québec, “in 2018-2019, the average time to produce this type of report was 11 months. “”

Le Soleil

On the matter of the timing of the release of coroner information it is worth noting it took over a year for the coroner to produce the report for Valerie Leblanc. In the matter of Catherine Daviau’s death, over two years. With the murder of Siasi Tullaugak which we covered a couple of episodes ago, the coroner waited 21 months.

I’m eagerly awaiting the part in this story when we’re officially told to go away, ‘This is a local matter, please let our community heal’.

It’s very dangerous to forget.

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3 thoughts on “Spontaneous Combustion / Catherine Daviau & Valérie Leblanc – WKT5 #13”

  1. Gatineau Police Service or Sherbrooke Police or so called “the more experienced provincial police, the Surete du Quebec” will never be able to solve those cases unless the perpetrators come forward and confess to the crimes I guess….

    Phenotyping to solve cold cases in Quebec: Quebec police will figure that out after 50 years from now probably when all the suspects/perpatrators are long gone and are dead.

    This episode made me laugh out loud, giggle more than once because I found it hilarious how police forces acted! Another gem of an episode, thank you for your great work! Will listen to it more than once!

  2. Gatineau Police Service or Sherbrooke Police or “the more experienced provincial police, the Surete du Quebec” will never be able to solve those cases unless the perpetrators come forward and confess…

    Phenotyping to solve cold cases in Quebec: Quebec police will figure that out after 50 years from now, probably when all the suspects/perpetrators are long gone and are dead.

    This episode made me laugh out loud, giggle more than once! Another gem of an episode, thank you for your great work!

  3. Thank you for listening LouLou… and then I remembered I ranted on the SQ for practically the entire Teresa Martin series. Ooops.

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