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Adopted Girl Dead
October 25, 2011 permalink
Seven-year-old adopted girl Sophie Fitzpatrick of Chelsea Quebec is dead. Her adoptive mother, Kathrine Dufresne is accused of murder. In another report the mother is called Kelly Fitzpatrick and in still another Dufresne is called the foster mother.
Que. woman accused of killing 7-year-old daughter appears in court
OTTAWA — A Quebec woman accused of killing her seven-year-old daughter Saturday made a surprise court appearance on a first-degree murder charge Monday afternoon.
Kathrine Dufresne did not enter a plea. She looked stunned as she appeared briefly and was whisked back to prison or to hospital — court officials weren't sure which.
At the request of her lawyer, Dufresne will undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation. She is due back in court Nov. 24 for another brief appearance.
Police found the body of Sophie Fitzpatrick, the adopted daughter of Dufresne and her husband Murray Fitzpatrick, on Saturday in the Kingsmere neighbourhood of Chelsea, Que., just outside Ottawa. Sophie was already dead and her mother was injured in a way police have not yet explained.
Court officials had told reporters earlier Monday Dufresne would be present only by telephone link with the court from her hospital room, where she has been for two days.
Instead, she was whisked in a few minutes before court was expected to deal with her case, and left after just a few moments.
She is represented by Gatineau, Que., lawyer Wayne Lora.
Crown attorney Sylvain Petitclair was cautious in giving details of the case, but confirmed the first-degree charge means the Crown believes Sophie's death was premeditated.
The evaluation is expected to take place in the Pierre-Janet Hospital Centre in Gatineau. Petitclair wouldn't answer questions about the defendant's state of mind but said "she was physically able to appear in court today, so I think she's in good physical condition."
It's normal not to enter a plea, Petitclair said.
The court hasn't addressed the question of bail yet. Petitclair said the Crown will oppose bail in the case.
In order to adopt Sophie from China, Dufresne and Fitzpatrick would have had to submit to a rigorous and expensive process that is carefully monitored by the Chinese government.
The couple would have worked with one of three agencies in Quebec that facilitates the adoptions of Chinese children. After prospective parents submit their applications through an agency, a worker from the Quebec ministry of youth protection visits their home to ensure they are mentally, physically and economically ready to support the child.
Every country has different requirements for people wishing to adopt children from abroad. China only accepts couples who have been married for at least two years and screens to ensure they do not have a history of serious mental illness, long-term physical health problems, domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abandonment, drug abuse or alcohol abuse.
At least one spouse must have stable employment. According to Quebec's international adoption secretariat, couples can expect to spend between $19,500 and $22,000 from the day they submit their application to the day they bring their new child home.
Post-adoption support is available through the Quebec ministries of health and youth protection.
This summer, China changed a long-standing guideline requiring parents of adopted children to submit a report detailing the child's development every six months until the age of 18. Parents are now required to submit a report every five years.
Pierre Villeneuve, an administrator at Ecole Montessori de Quatre Vallees where Sophie was a student in Grade 2, would only say staff had the students' best interests in mind as they navigated the difficult first day of class without her. Sophie had just transferred to the Montessori school after spending kindergarten and Grade 1 at Chelsea's Ecole du Grand-Boise.
Normand Pauze, the principal at Grand-Boise, said the school had called in support staff to help children deal with grief and confusion. Teachers of Grade 2 students who knew Sophie well set aside 15 minutes to answer their questions Monday morning and there was a meeting for parents scheduled later that afternoon.
Pauze said the key was to let the students come to adults with questions rather than bombarding them with explanations.
"Often, as adults, we want to explain, explain, explain and that isn't good. So we must respond to their questions, and we'll see that when they have a response, they'll pass on to other things," he said in French. "We mustn't dwell on the tragic and the dramatic."
Source: Montreal Gazette
From a later news report, here is a picture of Sophie Fitzpatrick.