Quebec woman charged in adopted daughter's death
Published Monday, October 24, 2011 3:04PM EDT
A Quebec woman appeared in court Monday afternoon after being charged with first-degree murder in relation to the death of her seven-year-old daughter, Sophie Fitzpatrick.
Catherine Dufresne's appearance in court was a surprise to her lawyer, who expected to attend the proceedings alone. Dufresne was apparently released from hospital earlier in the day.
The Gatineau woman, 53, appeared dishevelled and no family members were present in court.
She was ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment. Her next court appearance was scheduled for Nov. 24.
Quebec provincial police say Dufresne's husband, Murray Fitzpatrick, returned home from a business trip Saturday afternoon and found his daughter unresponsive and his wife seriously injured.
Both the mother and the girl were taken to hospital, where the girl was pronounced dead.
The cause of death was not released and an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
The mother was charged by police in hospital Sunday.
Police have ruled out the involvement of the father in his daughter's death and say they are not looking for any other suspects.
"The father has met with the investigators, had an interview, the investigators concluded he is not involved in the event," said Christine Coulombe of the Surete du Quebec.
Neighbours said the family appeared loving and the couple adopted their daughter from China five-and-a-half years ago.
The family's home is across the street from the estate known as Moorside, which was the home of former prime minister Mackenzie King. It is also close to the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons.
Fitzpatrick is listed as an investment adviser and financial planner with BMO Nesbitt Burns. A biography on the company's website says Fitzpatrick participates in triathlons, marathons, skiing and golf, and "enjoys life in the country" with his wife, daughter, and their Golden Doodle, Monty.