Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child

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Le Devoir, April 17, 1920, p. 3



Quebec City, 17 - (D.N.C.) - Unexpected developments took place yesterday afternoon at the trial of the Gagnon woman, accused of having caused the death of her husband's daughter by mistreatment.

When the Crown declared its case closed at yesterday afternoon's session, the defence announced its intention to add a plea of insanity to its plea of innocence. Maître Francoeur declared that, while he did not admit that the facts revealed were true, these facts were so extraordinary that he could come to no other conclusion than that his client must be insane if she had committed them. He asked the court to appoint a committee of medical experts to examine the accused and make known her mental state. The defence attorney declared that the facts revealed were so astounding that he was at a loss.

Court adjourned for several minutes. When the session resumed, Maître Francoeur reiterated his intention to plead insanity and asked that the case be adjourned until this morning, in order to allow him to prepare himself. Today attempts will be made to establish that the accused is irresponsible, and it is probable that the judge will then appoint a committee to examine the accused, in order for the jury to be fully informed.

The defence had first intended to claim that death was due, not to mistreatment, but to a spinal cord ailment, but had to face the facts following the last testimony heard in this unhappy affair. The Crown's last witnesses were Monsieur Mailhot, a justice of the peace, and Messieurs Arcadius Lemay and Adjutor Gagnon, who went with him to see little Aurore the day she died. The parish priest was the one who asked the justice of the peace to go with him to the Gagnon home, because he had noticed that something strange was going on.

Messieurs Lemay and Gagnon declared that they found the child in a terrible state. Monsieur Gagnon said that he found her so "decomposed," to use his own expression, that he couldn't bear the sight and left immediately.

The inquiry into the mental state of the Gagnon woman will begin this morning.

Source: Correspondant Le Devoir, "La femme Gagnon serait folle," Le Devoir (Montréal), April 17, 1920.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History