Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child

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The witness shall be sworn in before being heard

Canada }
District of Quebec }


In the presence of the coroner Dr. G. Will. Jolicoeur and the jurors chosen to conduct the inquest on the body of Aurore Gagnon, ten and one half 10 ½ years of age at present lifeless in Ste. Philomene on February 13, 1920

Testimony of Dr. Alb. Marois, doctor of Quebec aged 60 years who, being duly sworn on the Holy Gospels, doth depose and say: I assisted, this day, Dr. Alb. Lafond in performing the autopsy on the body that is the subject of this inquest. The body is that of a ten- to eleven-year-old girl who is four feet six inches tall. The muscles are in a state of rigor mortis, and decomposition has not begun. Upon external examination, a great number of superficial wounds can be observed; these include, to the outer surface of the right knee, a large blackish patch measuring two and one-half inches in diameter by one and one-half inches. One inch above, there are two internal openings, skin deep, one of which is one-half inch in diameter, and the other is two lines. When the outer surface of the knee is pressed, pus comes out of these two openings. One inch behind these two openings, there is another opening which also leaks pus. One inch below the wound that has been described is another wrinkled patch that is one and one-half inches in diameter. On the upper half of the leg on the same side, there is a skin-deep [illegible] wound of four inches by one and one-half inches. Behind, on the lower part of the leg, there are yet two more wrinkled patches, two inches by one and one-half inches. On the surface of the right foot, a wound two inches by one-half an inch has infected all the surrounding skin. On the right heel is a wrinkled blackish patch one and one-quarter inch in diameter that has infected all the surrounding skin. Aside from these wounds, there are seven or eight other small wounds on the right limb. On the inside of the right knee, there is a reddish patch one and one-half inches long by three-quarters of an inch wide. On the same side, at the back and on the upper inner part of the thigh, there can also be seen a wound six inches long and one-half to one inch wide.

This wound and others of the same type might have been caused by either a lash whip or a blow from a blunt narrow instrument. A. M.

The left limb is emaciated and much larger. On the inner side of the thigh, on the middle third, there is a wound two and three-quarters inches long that has partially healed. Further back, there is another wound three and one-half inches by four and one-half inches. Starting from the first wound described on the left, there is another wound four inches in length by one to three lines in diameter. On the inner side of the knee, there is a large wound that has begun to heal. On the outer side, there is a large reddish surface that is partly gangrenous with openings from which a [illegible] purulent liquid is draining. On the outer side and a little behind the upper third of the leg, there is a wound four and one-half inches long by one-half inch wide, and it has begun to heal. Below the outer malleolus, the skin is reddish and swollen with liquid. On the top surface of the foot, all the layers of skin have become detached over a surface one inch long by one-half inch wide. There are also scars of old wounds on the thigh. On the outer side of the right arm, there are three small dried wounds one-half an inch in diameter [illegible] arm. On the upper part of the forearm, there is a bruised patch. On the back of the wrist, there are four wounds one-half inch in diameter along a partially healed line. On the back of the hand, the skin has become detached over an area of one and one-half inches and has begun to heal. On the back of the little finger, all layers of the skin have become detached. There are also scratches on the back surfaces of the middle finger and the index finger. The inner side of the right elbow is bruised. On the left arm, on the inner and back side of the lower part of the forearm, the skin is [illegible] shredded over an area three inches by one and one-half inches. On the back, the buttocks, there are eight small wounds varying from one to two inches in the largest diameter, and some of which have begun to heal. The upper and lower right eyelids are bruised. Above the right eyebrow, there is a large reddish-brown patch with a marked depression below.

This depression must have been caused by a direct blow to the forehead with a blunt object, resulting in a haematoma described below, which destroyed [illegible] pericranium after becoming infected. A. M.

On the forehead are three wrinkled patches of one line by one-half inch in width. The whole surface of the scalp has been lifted by fluid, which, by opening the skin, is revealed to be a bloody liquid mixed with pus. Upon internal examination, when the scalp was opened, at least sixteen ounces of purulent bloody liquid drained away. The pericranium has been partly destroyed. There is nothing particular to mention about the brain or about the heart and lungs. The liver is voluminous. The left kidney is congested, and the right one is normal. The stomach, at opening, shows that the mucus is retracted, forms quite voluminous folds, and is very congested. The stomach contains about six ounces of a brownish liquid. There is nothing significant about the large and small intestines, save that the first part is more congested than the rest. The spleen, the pancreas, and the bladder are normal. In doing [illegible] of the skin corresponding to the described wounds on the lower limbs, the skin is observed to have become detached over a large surface corresponding to the described wounds, and particularly on the left, where the underlying traces are greenish and covered with a purulent coating. Cause of death: General poisoning caused either by septicaemia or other causes that only the analysis of the internal organs will determine. The autopsy obviously shows that the deceased did not receive the care called for by her condition.

[illegible] by direct blows, and not by infectious diseases. A. M.

And thus hath signed
Sworn before me
at Ste. Philomène
de Fortierville,
this 13th day of February, 1920

A Marois

Dr. G. Will. Jolicoeur

Source: ANQ, , TP12, S1, SS26, SSS1, 1960-01-353\2344, dossier 33, Cour des sessions de la paix, enquête du coroner, greffe de Québec, Témoignage du Dr Albert Marois, enquête du coroner sur la mort d'Aurore Gagnon, February 13, 1920, 4.

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