Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) says it does not have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges in the 1991 death of a 24-year-old Cree woman in Val-d’Or, Quebec.
The decision follows new inquiries conducted by Sûreté du Québec investigators earlier this year in and around the city situated 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
Last March, a spokesperson for Rose-Ann Blackned’s family said the SQ had received new information about the woman’s death and spoke with them in mid-February.
As many as five SQ investigators were put on the case, interviewing 15 people in four communities.
Blackned, a mother of two boys, was found frozen to death on Nov. 16, 1991, 10 days after an altercation with two people — a woman and a female minor — behind a motel where the three had been drinking.
Citing a pathologist’s report from the time, the DPCP said Blackned suffered lesions from blows she received, but none of the injuries contributed to her death.
In a news release, the DPCP said the SQ’s inquiries revealed “confusion and contradictions” on what happened after the altercation.
According to the DPCP, Blackned was still conscious, but had fallen into a creek. She called for help but the women involved in the altercation with Blackned eventually left the motel without looking for her.
People delivering beer to the motel later noticed her but didn’t go to help, believing she was drunk and resting.
Blackned’s frozen, snow-covered body was found 10 days later.
Coroner concluded hypothermia caused death
In his report, coroner Charles Letellier de St-Just listed her date of death as Nov. 7, 1991, and concluded that the cause was hypothermia.
The report stated she had also suffered injuries to her head and collarbone, a fractured rib and swelling to her face, but none were fatal.
Despite the ruling, the original detective in the case recommended charges.
Daniel Huard of the Sûreté municipale de Val d’Or, a local police force since replaced by the SQ, argued that the two individuals were the direct cause of Blackned’s death because they “beat her and abandoned her.”
The detective went on to say that “even though the injuries were not deadly, they contributed to weaken the victim, who died of…