Girl, 7, strangled: Reports

Relates to:
Date: 2011-10-23
Source: Sun News

AWAY ON A BUSINESS TRIP, MURRAY FITZPATRICK RETURNED TO HIS CHELSEA HOME SATURDAY TO FIND HIS SEVEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER STRANGLED TO DEATH, SOURCES TOLD QMI AGENCY. Credits: (Marc Caron/QMI Agency)

KELLY ROCHE & JUSTIN SADLER | QMI AGENCY

CHELSEA, QUE. - Away on a business trip, Murray Fitzpatrick returned to his Chelsea home Saturday to find his seven-year-old daughter strangled to death, sources told QMI Agency.
The child's 53-year-old mother, Katherine Fitzpatrick, had tried to take her own life, the sources said.

The pair were rushed to hospital where the girl was pronounced dead.

Neighbours identified the girl as Sophie. She had been adopted from China a few years ago and was just learning to swim.

While her body lay in the morgue Sunday morning, her mother remained in hospital as investigators waited to question her.

"They have to wait," said Quebec provincial police Sgt. Christine Coulombe. When (her) condition will be okay she will be met by the investigators."

Police remain tight-lipped about the investigation, only calling the girl's death suspicious.

But sources also said a letter was found, in which the horrific act is explained.

"Now the mother would be considered as an important witness," Coulombe said.

Coulombe couldn't speak to the woman's condition Sunday but they expect her to recover from her injuries.

"The father was met by the investigators, but he would not be involved in the incident," Coulombe said Sunday.

MRC des Collines police received a call around 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The regional police force called in the provincial major crimes squad when the gravity of the situation was realized.

"They found a lifeless girl and a woman injured," said Ann Mathieu, spokesperson for the Surete du Quebec.

"They were taken to a local hospital. The girl was pronounced dead there. The woman is still in the hospital, but we do not fear for her life."

The gruesome scene was found at 80 Barnes Rd., near the shores of Kingsmere Lake and a short stroll from the estate of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

It remained cordoned off by yellow police tape Sunday morning.

Police spent the night interviewing witnesses, neighbours and family members, in an effort to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

The case has all the appearances of a family drama.

Some neighbours described the Fitzpatricks as "a nice and happy family," but many wouldn't go into more detail.

Greg Christie, who owns the Ski and Cycle Works store in town, said Sophie "was very, effervescent, very bubbly."

The family attends an annual regatta in the lake each June, said Christie, adding that's the last time he saw Sophie.

Her father, Murray, an investment adviser and financial planner, competes in marathons, triathlons and a number of other activities.

When Sophie first arrived from overseas, "she was very quiet, very shy," said Christie, adding she slowly came out of her shell.

"It hit me very hard. I just can't believe it happened."

An autopsy will be performed in the coming days, police said.

Others in the tight-knit neighbourhood, which has its own neighbourhood watch, are shocked.

"I am troubled," said neighbour Nancy Manning.

"They were a quiet family, people who did not seem to have problems."

-- With files from Christine Bouthillier, Ian Gauthier and Simon-Pier Ouellet, QMI Agency

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