Mother makes first court appearance after toddler found dead in Quebec City

Audrey Gagnon, 23, has been charged with obstructing the work of a police officer and setting fire to a police station, after making her first court appearance Thursday afternoon in Quebec City.

Audrey Gagnon, 23, charged with obstructing work of a police officer, setting fire to police station

Rosalie Gagnon's body was found near a home on de Gaulle Avenue in Quebec City's Charlesbourg neighbourhood. The two-year-old was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead. (Daniel Coulombe/Radio-Canada)

The mother of a toddler who was found dead in Quebec City yesterday has been charged with obstructing the work of a police officer and setting fire to a police station.

Audrey Gagnon's court appearance, scheduled for Thursday morning, was delayed after she was sent to hospital with self-inflicted injuries, suffered while she was in police custody.

Gagnon, 23, was released from hospital and appeared in court Thursday afternoon.
A police officer escorts Audrey Gagnon as she leaves a Quebec City police station on her way to the courthouse. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Earlier in the day, Quebec City police said they were recommending that Gagnon be charged in the death of her two-year-old daughter, Rosalie.

Police didn't say whether they believed Gagnon should be charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter. The Crown has not yet indicated if additional charges might be laid.

Gagnon remains in custody, and a bail hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Her defence lawyer said in court Thursday he has not yet received any evidence.

Police launched a search for Gagnon, 23, and Rosalie early Wednesday morning. Rosalie's body was found later in the afternoon. (Service de police de la Ville de Québec)

Autopsy to be performed today

Rosalie's body was found in a garbage bin behind a home on de Gaulle Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, in the city's Charlesbourg neighbourhood. The toddler was pronounced dead in hospital.

Police said an autopsy will be performed on the girl on Thursday to determine the exact cause of death.

Neighbourhood residents placed flowers and stuffed animals outside the home where the child's body was found.

Geneviève Charbonneau brought three of her kids to the home where Rosalie's body was found so they could pay their respects. (Cathy Senay/CBC)

Geneviève Charbonneau, a mother of five, came to pay her respects.

"I'm [a] single mom, and I don't have the words for this. But I'm in shock," Charbonneau said.

The search for the mother and toddler started around 7 a.m. ET Wednesday after someone found an empty baby stroller in Bon-Air Park and contacted police.

Police found the woman in an apartment on Gaspard Avenue, about two kilometres away from the park in the Beauport neighbourhood, around 3:30 p.m.

She was with a man at the time. Police said both were interviewed, but the man was eventually released. He will not be charged.

Gagnon was previously convicted of aggravated assault in 2014, and of assault in 2015.

The empty stroller was found at Bon-Air Park Wednesday morning. Rosalie's body was found outside a home on de Gaulle Avenue, and her mother was found at a residence on Gaspard Avenue. (Google Maps)

With files from Radio-Canada