Catherine Dufresne charged with murdering seven-year-old daughter Sophie Fitzpatrick
By Matthew Pearson
OTTAWA—The mother of Sophie Fitzpatrick has been charged with murder following the seven-year-old girl’s death Saturday.
Catherine Dufresne, who is in hospital under police guard, was arrested and charged Sunday. A lawyer will appear on her behalf in a Gatineau, Que., court Monday.
Dufresne suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries in the still unknown events that took place in the family home in Chelsea, Que., just outside of Ottawa. Quebec provincial police had been waiting to speak to her since they began investigating the death of the girl.
“Following the meeting they had with the 53-year-old woman, she was arrested,” said Sgt. Louis-Philippe Ruel.
Ruel said Catherine Dufresne is the maiden name of the woman neighbours knew as Kathy Fitzpatrick.
Earlier Sunday, police said the child’s father, who neighbours identified as Murray Fitzpatrick, was not involved in Sophie’s death.
Sophie, who was adopted from China several years ago, was in Grade 2 and spoke excellent French, according to neighbours. Police would not say what her injuries were.
Police initially said that whatever occurred at the home on Saturday involved three people, all from the same family. But the father has since met with investigators and has been cleared of any involvement.
“I know he is not involved in the investigation, but I don’t know where he was,” said Quebec provincial police officer Christine Coulombe.
Nancy Manning, who lives up the street from the family and knows them well, described the couple as “very caring parents.”
“I will stand by the fact that she and the dad adored this little girl and they were very loving parents,” Manning said.
Crime-scene investigators wrapped up at the scene Sunday morning.
Just before 1 p.m., a large truck from an emergency cleaning service left the property and an officer on scene, who was removing yellow police tape from around the property, said the male occupant of the home was expected to arrive shortly.
“He’s in shock,” she said.
Minutes later, a silver Volkswagen SUV arrived carrying two men.
Murray Fitzpatrick is listed as an investment adviser and financial planner with BMO Nesbitt Burns. An online BMO biography says he has taken part in marathons and triathlons, and that he loves golfing, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing.
His wife once worked in Ottawa for the Watertown, New York, PBS station, and is now a stay-at-home mother.
Ottawa Citizen with files from Zev Singer