A violent blow to the abdomen caused the death of Thomas Audet, say two experts

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A violent blow to the abdomen caused the death of Thomas Audet, say two experts

Baby Thomas died in unclear circumstances at the age of 22 months.

Thomas Audet, 22 months, died due to trauma caused by a blunt object. The injuries he sustained resulted from at least one impact to the abdomen that occurred minutes to hours before his death on June 18, 2016.

That's what concluded a pathologist from the Laboratory of Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine in Montreal, Dr. Yann Dazé, who carried out the autopsy of the toddler four days after his death. The child had been found unresponsive by his mother's spouse, Maxime Patry, in their apartment in Alma and died within minutes.

Dr. Dazé was called as an expert witness on Wednesday, the third day of coroner Ghéane Kamel's public inquest at the Chicoutimi courthouse. The investigation aims to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the death of Thomas Audet.

The specialist, who has carried out more than 2,300 autopsies in his career, including some sixty pediatric autopsies, explained that as soon as he saw Thomas' body in the morgue, he knew it was not a natural death.

There were elements of concern on cursory examination of the body. It is clear that I made the right decision [to continue the investigation], he said.

During the autopsy, the doctor noticed three types of injuries on the baby's body and inside the body.

In his six-page report, subject to a publication ban, the doctor specifies that Thomas had bruises on his head. He noticed blood infiltration under the scalp and the beginning of hemorrhage in the fibrous layers that wrap the brain. Dr. Dazé concluded that these injuries did not cause Thomas' death.

Same observation for three fractures of the ribs in the process of consolidation, dating from several days, even a few weeks before the death of Thomas, also observed. Dr. Yann Dazé concludes that Thomas Audet suffered at least two traumas to his stomach. A newer one that killed him and an old one that was healing.

There was 350ml of blood in Thomas's abdomen. It is enormous. The blood pooled from a 1.5cm tear in the transverse mesocolon at the level of the mesentery, the expert witness explained, adding that these recent injuries explain the death of the child, who was perfectly healthy at the time. he lost his life.

Dr. Dazé could not say exactly at what time Thomas received the fatal blow or with what object. He explained, however, that the narrower the object, the greater the risks. During his testimony, the pathologist indicated that he noticed a scar on Thomas' right ear.

It struck me. It's [an injury] very rare in a child, he argued.

On Monday and Tuesday, witnesses, including the deceased's two grandfathers, pointed out that among the three major injuries the child suffered in his short life that required hospital visits was a major ear injury.

Maxime Patry was the spouse of little Thomas Audet's mother.

It would have occurred while Thomas Audet's mother, Sarah-Ève Larouche, and her spouse at the time, Maxime Patry, were bathing Thomas at his grandfather's on the maternal side. Sarah-Ève Larouche claims that the baby slipped and injured herself, but doubts have been raised as to the origin of this injury which no one, apart from the couple, witnessed.

< p class="e-p">Maxime Patry has been charged with manslaughter following the death of Thomas Audet. However, they were withdrawn after a key witness, who claimed to have seen Maxime Patry hit the toddler the day before his death, recanted. Since the change in his testimony, the Crown has one year, until September 29, 2022, to file new charges against him.

Maxime Patry's lawyer, Me Jean-Marc Fradette, supports the thesis that a fall from a bicycle that occurred inside the family apartment the day before caused Thomas's death. He questioned the pathologist to determine if part of the bike Thomas was on when he fell was a blunt object.

The medical specialist indicated that indeed all the parts of the bike are blunt objects. However, he said with near certainty that the fall did not cause the death of the baby.

It would be very surprising. We are talking about a two-year-old who is stationary on his bike. If the abdomen hits something, the shock will be less important than that at the level of the head. It's not impossible, as they say in medicine, but it's very, very unlikely, explained the pathologist.

The child did not suffer an injury immediately and was as cheerful as usual after falling. The incident did not prevent him from going to play in the park and having his evening meal. The mother and stepfather noticed nothing unusual after the fall and did not see fit to take Thomas to the hospital.

Dr. Suzanne Leclerc, pediatric surgeon at CHUL, also testified. She conducted examinations during the criminal investigation, at the request of the investigators in the file. She fully supports the conclusions of Dr. Yann Dazé as to the cause of death and therefore rules out the thesis of trauma caused by the fall from the bicycle in the apartment.

According to her, the blow the victim received was struck with velocity, an unlikely element when falling from a small stationary bicycle with auxiliary wheels. Only an accident, an aggressive gesture or a major fall could have caused an injury like the one that caused the death of Thomas Audet, insisted Dr. Leclerc.

Maxime Patry's sister , Karine Patry, defended her brother during her testimony before coroner Kamel.

Despite the fact that he used cannabis and methamphetamine, she said he took responsibility for the son he had before his relationship with Sarah-Ève Larouche. She says she has never witnessed any aggressive gestures made by her brother towards this child, Thomas Audet or his spouse at the time, Sarah-Ève Larouche.

The DPJ intervened because of quarrels between Maxime Patry and the mother of his child.

I was the resource person. The DPJ told me that there was nothing with Maxime, that he was a good father, said Karine Patry, adding that the people involved in the file withdrew after two or three months.

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Sarah-Ève Larouche, mother of Thomas Audet

Karine Patry does not hold Sarah -Eve Larouche in very high esteem.

My opinion of her wasn't the best, but I still respected her. It was superficial, more profitable. She was having seizures, said the witness.

Karine Patry said that Maxime Patry was upset by the death of Thomas, on whom he performed resuscitation maneuvers shortly before his death . She noticed that Sarah-Ève Larouche showed no emotion on the evening of her son's death and that she wanted to get a manicure instead.

Maxime wondered what had happened. Sarah no. She wanted to get her gel nails done. We were all in shock and trying to understand. Thomas was in Maxime's thoughts and he was trying to understand. Sarah was doing her nails. I have never seen her cry, supported Karine Patry.

She spoke of Thomas Audet as a child full of life.

He was crying a lot and really wanted Sarah to hug him. He wanted his mother, she continued.

According to Karine Patry, Maxime Patry and Sarah-Ève Larouche used drugs regularly. The couple lived in her home for two years after Thomas left.

There were arguments. Sarah wanted such and such a thing, Maxime didn't want to go get her. She lacked speed, said Karine Patry.

She added that Sarah-Ève Larouche regularly hit her spouse at the time, but that he did not physically attack Thomas' mother. This is a divisive voice in comparison to the testimony of Sarah-Ève Larouche, delivered on Tuesday, during which she called Maxime Patry a monster and claimed to have been the victim of domestic violence.

“She didn't care much about it. She was impatient. She let him. I never heard Sarah say she loved Thomas”

— Karine Patry, sister of Maxime Patry

Coroner Géhane Kamel recalled that the inquest The aim of public prosecution is not to find the guilty.

That will be the job of the criminal or the civilians if there are prosecutions. I am the voice of this deceased child. Over my dead body, I'm going to go all the way for this child, dropped the lawyer.

Stakeholders from the Directorate of Protection youth will testify on Wednesday afternoon.

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