MD father suspected of killing his two children


From Monday's Globe and Mail

February 22, 2009 at 10:16 PM EST

QUEBEC CITY — The small community of Piedmont and the staff at Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Saint-Jérôme are in shock after learning Sunday that one of their cardiologists is suspected of killing his two children while his wife, an emergency ward doctor at the same hospital, was away skiing.

The Sûreté du Québec identified the children's bodies as that of Olivier Turcotte, 5, and Anne-Sophie Turcotte, 3. The bodies were found Saturday at a home in Piedmont in the Laurentians, located near Saint-Jérôme, just north of Montreal. The CBC reported last night the father was estranged from his wife and rented the Piedmont house, where he lived with the two children, two months ago.

The SQ refused to confirm on Sunday reports that marital problems may have been the reason behind the killings.

The father, whose name has not been released, was admitted to a Montreal hospital on Saturday night where he was reported to be in stable condition after taking drugs in what police said appeared to be a suicide attempt. As of Sunday afternoon, police had not had the opportunity to question him about the slayings.

Saint-Jérôme hospital director François Therrien confirmed that doctors were so grieved and shaken by the events that when their fellow physician arrived at the Saint-Jérôme hospital for treatment, they recommended he be transferred instead to a hospital in Montreal.

“I respected the doctors' decision. ... The decision was taken in concert with the medical team [on duty]. I don't want to go any further on this,” Mr. Therrien said during a news conference in Saint-Jérôme on Sunday.

He repeated that at no time did anyone on the hospital staff know of anything that could have prevented the tragedy. Mr. Therrien explained that the 36-year-old cardiologist was on duty on Friday and that there was nothing unusual in his behaviour.

“There was no – and I insist on repeating – there was no precursory sign shown the last few days. He showed a great deal of professionalism, which was his trademark, in his dealings with his patients,” Mr. Therrien said.

Police said the children's mother, who was skiing in Charlevoix, near Quebec City, was notified Saturday. They are not releasing her name, nor is the hospital.

Mr. Therrien said she was well respected by her colleagues and they were offering her their full support to get through this ordeal. With files from The Canadian Press