Aurore Gagnon
May 31, 1909 - February 12, 1920
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Her baptism name was Marie Aurore Lucienne, though she was called Aurore and she was the second child of Marie Anne Caron and Telesphore Gagnon. Marie Anne was hospitalize with Tuberculosis and Telesphore's cousin, Marie-Anne Houde, moved into their home with him and brought her six children in 1916, she was a widow. The next year, a child who was two years old and the brother of Aurore, died under mysterious circumstances, his name was Joseph Gagnon.  In 1918, Marie Anne Caron died and Telesphore married Marie Anne Houde. The beginning to the abuse that would kill Aurore, had taken place.

Aurore was abused so badly that she ended up in the hospital with an infection in her leg in September of 1919. The infection in her leg was caused by the wounds she had sustained while being beaten, even so she was released back to the custody of the two people who had been beating her, after about a month.

After her release, her father and stepmother continued to beat her and eventually, Aurore would die as a result of the beating she was receiving, due to exhaustion and blood poisoning. Aurore had more than 52 wounds on her body when she died, having been beaten with multiple items including a poker, ax handle, curling iron, rope and a switch.

People began to wonder out loud about the death of this child. Eventually, the Judicial System Officers of the
Provincial Government, specifically, a police officer and a medical examiner, visited the village to do an autopsy
and investigate the situation. A coroners inquest was held in the Parish Church and it was established that Aurore
had not died of natural causes.

Telesphore Gagnon and Marie Anne Houde were arrested and charged with negligence and mistreatment and were taken to Quebec City and taken to jail where they were facing an inquiry into homicide charges. A trial for Marie Anne took place between April 13 and April 21, 1920 with Judge Louis-Philippe Pelletier presiding. A trail for Telesphore Gagnon took place from April 23 and April 29, 1920 with Judge Joseph Alfred Desy presiding.

Telesphore Gagnon spent time in St. Vincent De Paul prison, sentenced to serve life for manslaughter, he was
released in 1925 for good behavior. He is said to have returned to the town where he killed his daughter.  On
August 30, 1961, Telesphore died.

Marie Anne House was sentenced to hang for what she did to Aurore. However, since she was pregnant at the time, a judge allowed time for her to have the baby and nurse it for the first few months of its life. On July 8, 1920, Marie Anne Houde gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, which she named Roch Jean and Jeanne D'Arc. The children were baptized with a prison guard and a prison matron acting as Godparents.

Having the twins was good for Marie Anne since it cause the public to sympathize with her if not for her newborn
children. The Canadian Prisoners Welfare Association started a campaign for clemency in her case. September 19, 1920, only two days before her hanging date, Federal Minister Of Justice, Monsieur C. J. Doherty, commuted Marie Anne's sentence to life in prison. Marie Anne spent almost the rest of her life in Kingston Penitentiary. Marie Anne was released from prison on July 3, 1936 and died on May 12, 1937, of Cancer she had been diagnosed with while in prison.

Aurore's death caused her to become an icon in Quebec, Canada and was made into two movies and many

books. Aurore is often referred to as "L'enfant Martyre".







Death Occurred in Canada

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