Caregivers express 'helplessness' with court delays

The former caregivers of Betty Ann Gagnon are frustrated that the case hasn't gone to trial three years after she was found dead

Betty Ann Gagnon died in November 2009

Sue Thomas (left), Heather O'Bray, and Suzanne Jackett cared for Betty Anne Gagnon when she lived in Calgary. (CBC)

The former caregivers of a developmentally-disabled woman found dead in Strathcona County three years ago are frustrated with how long the case is taking in court.

Betty Anne Gagnon, 48, was found dead outside a Tempo gas station in Strathcona County in November 2009.

Gagnon’s sister, Denise Margaret Scriven, and her brother-in-law, Michael Lee Scriven, were charged in June 2010 with manslaughter, unlawful confinement and failure to provide the necessities of life.

Gagnon’s three former Calgary caregivers — Sue Thomas, Suzanne Jackett and Heather O’Bray — attended court in Edmonton on Friday, expecting a trial date to be set or a plea to be entered.

The women expressed frustration that the case was put over until Feb. 15th.

"We're just very much trying to keep an even keel and do the best that we can," said Suzanne Jackett who lived with Gagnon for at least 18 years.

"It's obviously difficult and it’s obviously frustrating. What I feel most is a sense of helplessness."

The Scrivens cared for Gagnon for about 4 ½ years before she died, according to court documents containing unproven statements from RCMP that were presented to a judge in order to obtain a search warrant.

The documents allege that Gagnon was locked inside a number of locations on the couple’s property, including a chicken hutch, a basement and an unheated school bus with no toilet or running water. 

Gagnon, who was legally blind and described as having the mind of a five-year-old, was found dead inside a truck that her sister had driven to the gas station near Sherwood Park.

The medical examiner found that Gagnon had died from a blunt force injury to her head.