Canada 64 years after her aunt went missing, Quebec City woman searches for answers

21:55  05 september  2017
21:55  05 september  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

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More than 60 years after she went missing , a Quebec City woman is inching closer to finding out what happened to her aunt . Montreal police have opened an investigation into the disappearance of Marie-Paule Rochette, a dental hygienist who settled in Montreal with her husband in 1945.

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64 years after her aunt went missing, Quebec City woman searches for answers © Submitted by Patricia Rochette 64 years after her aunt went missing, Quebec City woman searches for answers

More than 60 years after she went missing, a Quebec City woman is inching closer to finding out what happened to her aunt.

Montreal police have opened an investigation into the disappearance of Marie-Paule Rochette, a dental hygienist who settled in Montreal with her husband in 1945.

Eight years after her arrival in the city, she vanished. Her family back home filed a missing person's report, but police never looked into her disappearance.

In recent years, her niece Patricia Rochette has worked tirelessly to uncover Marie-Paule's story, most recently obtaining her dental records.

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All she wants, she says, is that her aunt be laid to rest beside her family members at a cemetery in Quebec City, where she grew up. But her quest may not be over any time soon.

A gruesome find

The story of Marie-Paule Rochette's disappearance takes many twists and turns, involving macabre discoveries, missing information and unanswered questions.

Soon after she disappeared in 1952, her husband wrote to her brother Raymond, who was still living in in Quebec City, saying Rochette had been sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Then, in October 1953, a gruesome find: the body of a woman who had been suffocated, tied up, and attached to a cement block was pulled from Rivière des Prairies.

A dentist who analyzed photos of Rochette's jaw convinced Raymond Rochette that the body belonged to Marie-Paule. They had their answer. She had been murdered.

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But the body was never officially identified by authorities. And since police never opened a file into Rochette's disappearance, there was no murder investigation.

Drowned woman 'likely' Rochette, dentist says

Over the years, key pieces of information tied to Rochette's story started to vanish, just like she did. The missing person's report, the report into the discovery of the woman's body, her fingerprints ... gone.

Soon, all that was left was a photo of the drowned woman's lower jaw, taken from an issue of Allô Police magazine.

But that photo proved useful — through former police officer Stéphane Berthomet, who is helping her with her search, Patricia Rochette enlisted the help of a dentist.

Dr. René-Guy Landry compared Rochette's dental records to that photo, and found a number of similarities. He told Radio-Canada it's "very likely" the photo depicts Rochette.

But the one thing that could solve this mystery once and for all, a DNA test, is still out of reach because it's unclear where the drowned woman's body is.

She was buried in a common grave, at le repos Saint-François d'Assise in Montreal's east end. The cemetery no longer has the document that outlines where each body was buried.

Was Marie-Paule ever sent to the psychiatric hospital? Was she murdered? Whose body was pulled from the water that October day?

Patricia Rochette is hoping there are people out there, somewhere, who were alive at the time and who know something.

"I'm not saying these people are guilty, I'm not accusing anyone. I'm saying there are witnesses who can talk about this and what happened," she said.

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