The “Granby girl” was neither thin nor malnourished, says defense expert

At the criminal trial of the mother-in-law of the “Granby girl”, the expert defense witness told the jury that if the 7-year-old was “small”, she was not thin or undernourished. You can rule out malnutrition, she said.

Annie Sauvageau, who describes herself as a forensic pathology consultant, began her testimony at trial, which resumed Wednesday after a several-day suspension.

She is called to the stand to counter the assertions of the forensic pathologist who testified at the request of the Crown. The latter, Dr. Caroline Tanguay, had concluded that the girl had died from external suffocation, caused by duct tape affixed to her nose and mouth.

Ms. Sauvageau does not agree with this conclusion. She has already announced that she believes other causes of death are more likely and she intends to detail them.

Dr. Tanguay had also testified to having been struck by the small size of the child, who had according to her a “significant delay in weight”.

Recall that the police and paramedics called to the scene described the girl as “very thin” and even rickety. A policeman even testified that the little girl reminded him of starving children in Ethiopia.

The child’s mother-in-law is charged with forcible confinement and second degree murder.

The 38-year-old, who cannot be named due to a court order, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Crown theory is that the accused wrapped duct tape around the girl’s body on April 29, 2019. She died the next day.

“A white autopsy”

Dr. Tanguay performed the autopsy. But she could not determine the cause of death by examining the small body of the child: no disease, no trauma, no injury, no drugs in his blood, she detailed.

Faced with such a result, called a “white autopsy”, she explained that the rules of the trade want the pathologist to then turn to the circumstances of the case and proceed by elimination to pinpoint the cause of death. Here, she had received these two pieces of information that gave her the context: the tape on her nose and mouth and the one on her chest.

Because tape over the nose and mouth causes a person’s death much faster than any amount of tape around the torso, she concluded this way: death “by external suffocation”, taking for granted that the airways were blocked. If not, she agrees that the other most likely cause is that the tape compressed her torso and eventually prevented her body from making the required back-and-forth motion. to breathe.

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