North Bay's Roger Deschenes, 62, charged in 1980 stabbing death of Micheline St. Amour
St. Amour was found dead in the bedroom of her North Bay-area home, with her toddler nearby
Ontario Provincial Police say they have laid criminal charges in connection with the stabbing death of a young North Bay-area mother 40 years ago.
Roger Deschenes, 62, of North Bay was arrested and charged with first degree murder on Nov. 18.
Police say 20-year-old Micheline St. Amour was found in her bedroom of her East Ferris Township home on July 10, 1980. She had died as a result of injuries caused by stab wounds.
OPP Det.-Insp. Kurtis Fredericks said Wednesday that St. Amour's two-year-old child was found unharmed in a nearby bedroom at the time.
Fredericks notes that investigators issued media releases after the discovery and offered a $10,000 reward for information. Despite those appeals and an investigation, St. Amour's homicide went unsolved.
Fredericks says OPP "eventually employed innovative investigation techniques, as information and forensic DNA technology advanced."
The information that was gathered has not been made public, as it will be before the courts, he says, including details about the accused's relationship with St. Amour and the evidence that led to his arrest.
"I can't go into specific detail today about how we arrived at a point where we can announce a resolution."
The U.S.-based firm that used genetic genealogy to help identify Calvin Hoover as the suspect in the 1984 killing of Christine Jessop (Othram Inc.) has told CBC News it was not involved in the St. Amour case. Anthony Redgrave, the genetic genealogist who built the family tree leading to Hoover, was also not involved.
Deschenes appeared at the Ontario court of justice in North Bay on Nov.19 and is in custody until a bail hearing can be scheduled. The investigation is ongoing.
"To help Micheline St. Amour's family find resolution, if you have information, we urge viewers to call the non-emergency number ... or your local police service," Fredericks said, adding that anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers.
OPP Chief Supt. Carson Pardy says St. Amour's family will likely never find "closure," but he hopes Deschenes' arrest brings a sense of resolution.
"The survivors learn to live with a loss in their lives. The losses in this case have been enormous," he said. "One loss was to a child, a common-law spouse, siblings, extended family, friends, and the community. Another loss is the potential for great memories, the loss of what might have been."
- A previous version of this story listed both Othram and Redgrave Research as the firms that used genetic genealogy to help identify Calvin Hoover as the suspect in the 1984 killing of Christine Jessop. In fact, the Jessop case was contracted to Othram exclusively and not both Othram and Redgrave Research.Nov 26, 2020 4:52 PM ET
With files from The Canadian Press