New Brunswick

Police seek answers for why Rothesay mother killed daughter before taking her own life

The Kennebecasis Regional Police Force says it's still looking for answers as to why a Rothesay mother killed her seven-year-old daughter before taking her own life.

Kennebecasis Regional Police Force received 911 call to apartment building on Sierra Avenue on Monday morning

The bodies of Louise Caissie and her daughter Solange were found in an apartment in Rothesay on Monday morning. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

The Kennebecasis Regional Police Force says it's still looking for answers as to why a Rothesay mother killed her seven-year-old daughter before taking her own life.

The bodies of Louise Caissie, 43, and her daughter Solange were discovered in an apartment on Sierra Avenue on Monday around 10 a.m. 

"The investigation has determined that the child's death was the result of a homicide, and that the woman then died as a result of a self-inflicted injury," police said in a news release Thursday morning.

"Due to the circumstances, police do not anticipate any charges being laid."

Autopsies have been completed, but the causes of death have not been released.

Insp. Anika Becker said she's not able to disclose that information "at this time."

Becker could not say how long the mother and child were dead before their bodies were found. "There's some work that needs to be done there."

Police discovered the bodies after receiving a 911 call from a resident of the building who "felt that there may be someone deceased in one of the apartments," said Becker.

Insp. Anika Becker said as investigations evolve, police never know what information will become important, that's why it's important for them to stay open-minded and welcome all information from the public. (CBC)

Police identified the woman Tuesday as Caissie but did not reveal the girl's name.

Hampton-based lawyer David Lutz, who used to employ Caissie as his legal assistant, identified the girl in an interview with CBC News as her daughter Solange.

He described Caissie as a "gentle person" and Solange as a "joyful" little girl.

Support for former classmates

Rothesay Elementary School, where Solange attended Grade 2 from September until late November before being home-schooled, will have two additional guidance staff available to support students when classes resume Tuesday after Christmas holidays, said Zoë Watson, Anglophone South School District superintendent.

"This little child hadn't been with us very long but certainly had a lot of friendships," she said.

School principal Charlene Carroll has also been in touch with the parents of the children in Solange's class, "as many of these students live in the neighbourhood and could be together outside of school," Watson said.

The school district, meanwhile, has made parents aware of a brochure available on its website under parent resources/crisis response, regarding the reaction that elementary students may have to death and advice on how to talk to them.

"At a time of loss, we always make families aware of this resource," said Watson.

School staff have also been advised of the situation, she said. 

"Our role during these times is to provide the necessary support to our schools — the students and their families, and our staff."

Solange had previously attended other schools, not part of the Anglophone South system, said Watson.

Investigation remains open

Although no charges are expected, the investigation remains open, said Det. Sgt. Craig MacDougall, the head of the criminal investigation unit.

"We've made some conclusions based on the investigation thusfar on what occurred, however we're going to continue the investigation until were satisfied that we have all of the information that we need," he said.

Police are asking anyone who was in contact with the two victims before their deaths or has information about the case to call the force at 506-847-6300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Any information is useful, stressed MacDougall.

Det. Sgt. Craig MacDougall said homicide cases involving a child are rare and particularly difficult for officers and the community as a whole. (CBC)

"Somebody may think their information isn't relevant or important, but it may be. So that's why we're encouraging anybody with information to call us."

A "significant" number of people have already called, he said.

Still, MacDougall acknowledged police may never fully uncover what happened in that apartment.

"That's always a possibility in any investigation."

MacDougall declined to discuss any specifics of the investigation, including any items seized from the scene.

He did say that police have cleared the scene.

Police said Tuesday they considered the deaths suspicious, but that they were not looking for any suspects.

Caissie had left Lutz's law firm in October, after she got a job with the province's mental health board, Lutz had said.

She had a law degree from the University of Moncton and was admitted to the bar in June 2003, according to the Law Society of New Brunswick's website.

It lists her status as "practising exempt," which refers to members who are exempt from mandatory insurance coverage for a variety of reasons, including being employed by a government department or agency and not practising law outside such employment.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Louise Caissie as Louise Cassie-Laflamme, based on incorrect information provided by the police.
    Jan 02, 2020 6:21 PM AT

With files from Rachel Cave

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