Monday, March 19, 2007

As with most investigations there are many loose ends that are necessary to tie everything together. The internet of course simplifies the search and places many things within grasp if one is patient. On numerous occasions in the past, it has been necessary to reach out to you in this way for information. This is another of those times when it is necessary to prevail upon you, the reader, for some assistance. If I did not deem this important, I would not do it in this manner, however, in this case I ask that collectively we all put our heads together. I know the answer that I seek is out there.
I am asking you to take a good look at the old photograph that I am posting. I do not know the origin of this photo, other than it was taken in 1953 at or near Gaspe'. The quality of the photo is not good. It could not be enlarged, as in doing such, the clarity of the picture was lessened to the point where the photo was no longer useful.
I can tell you that the gentleman in uniform wearing dark glasses is police officer Lewis Sinnett with the Quebec Provincial Police. As well, I am certain of the identity of the gentleman standing second from the left side. I will not state the name at this point because I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth. I am most interested in the younger gentleman in the white shirt standing next to Officer Sinnett. You will note that he is young, and there is a good possibility that he may still be alive. If you can help me identifying any or all of these gentlemen, it would be greatly appreciated. You can either post the names in the form of a comment on this site, or you can send me an e-mail to

Constantly you read about me ranting and raving about the importance of reaching out and acquiring statements from those involved with this case. These folks are our link with the past, and they are dwindling in number.
You have also read where I have referred to the fact, that in my opinion, it can be proven that Wilbert Coffin was convicted by a flawed process. I stand by that decision. I have located one of the original jurors from that original inquest where this case commenced taking shape. His name is Gabriel Bernard. As well, many have known, and I have stressed as well, that the coroner, Doctor Lionel Rioux who headed up that inquest was still alive and well. I am hopeful that AIDWYC contacted Dr. Lionel Rioux. In my view, his evidence would be crucial in establishing the fact of a flawed process of law, forced by the government of Quebec.
Sadly, I have to inform you that Doctor Lionel Rioux passed into eternity this past Wednesday, March 14, 2007. I extend my condolences to the Rioux family.
Lew Stoddard
Posted to site March 19, 2007


Anna Camile said...

I agree with you Sir, the original players of this drama are certainly shrinking in number. It is important to reach as many as possible in order to get the true facts of what happened. Not an easy task i am sure. I wish i could offer some help, but I can not other tha encourage those who can to please come forward before the lights go out and the curtain drops forever.

Anna Camile
St. Hubert, Quebec

Silvie Gaston said...

Mr. Stoddard,

Just a note to let you know that we saw the picture that you are trying to identify through the GoGaspe site.

I am certain that my dad knows the older fellow standing beside the police officer on the opposide side from the younger one.

My Dad thinks he is from Murdochville, and he is showing the photo later today to another elderly man who should know as well. As soon as he confirms this information I will send you an e-mail right away. I really hope that my family is able to help you. My father says to thank you for all your efforts for our former community. He does read your site but want you to know it is a nice idea to have it linked through the GoGaspe site as you do.

Silvie Gaston

Robert Beaulieu said...

hello Mr. Stoddard,

A short message to tell you that my dad recognizes someone in the picture. he is certain that the man at the far right at the back is a mr. Pat Adams who was a government game warden for province of Quebec. i hope this helps you sir. you are doing good work on this case. Dad and mom lived in gaspe area in the fifties and sixties.

Robert Beaulieu
Prince George

Silvie Gaston said...

Hello again Mr. Stoddard,

My Dad managed to identify the man in the photo at the far right in the back row. He told me right away that the persons name is a Mr. Adams who was a game warden. He is also certain that his friend will know as well the man in the front at the right. I will contact you as soon as we talk to him later in the weekend. I enjoyed being able to help you with this Sir.

Silvie Gaston

Nephew Rick said...

Hi Lew;
My mom thinks the gentleman on the right, front is an Adams.

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT MARCH 28 at 9PM the Program " ENJEUX" on Radio Canada CBC TV Montreal will have an hour special on the WILBERT COFFIN CASE. I believe this is a program they put together over the winter, including interviews with AIDWYC lawyers and with Gaspé citizens such as Fabien Sinnett and Henriette Doyon. Also I think James Coffin may have been interviewed for this program when he was in Gaspé this winter.(Perhaps he could confirm this for us?)The program is in French and is aired in Vancouver on Channel 7 from what I understand looking at our TV guide.I'm not sure what channel other cities have for the CBC French station, but whether or not you speak/understand french, it's worth watching.You will at least get a good sense of some of the events and get to see some people who were witnesses to some events Lew has discussed on here.

Émission du 28 Mars 2007-RADIO CANADA TV MONTRÉAL
Le mystère Coffin
Juillet 1953, les corps de trois touristes américains sont retrouvés dans la forêt gaspésienne. Wilbert Coffin est reconnu coupable et pendu à la prison de Bordeaux, à Montréal, le 10 février 1956. L’équipe d’Enjeux replonge dans toutes les procédures judiciaires du drame afin de percer le mystère Coffin. Après avoir consulté une quantité importante de documents, des milliers de pages, on y a découvert des faits et des personnages méconnus qui donnent un éclairage nouveau au cas Coffin.

Armand Culhane said...

Lots of people would like to help identify people in vintage photographs but there is not a lot of hope in something like this I am sure because of the years. and anyway does the photograph fit in directly with your research and if it doesnt then why waste time on it because other stuff may be more inportant in the end.

i saw your request through the gogaspe website.

Armand Culhane

F Olson said...

I can understand some of your frustrations sir but you seem to paint politicians and police with an off color brush.

Do you not understand that our top politicians and police officers are not I believe the ones to be upset with. At the top I am confident that they are honest and above board. They have to be as they represent the whole country. I believe that any behaviour that does not display that is from lesser ranking individuals.
What I am really saying is that you are I believe much too severe in your generalization of law and order and you do not display a lot of respect. That is one of the things wrong with our society when people carry on as you seem to excel at.

F Olson
Halifax, N S

Bob R said...

In some ways I agree with F Olson of Halifax but do agree that in this case it seems apparent that there was a lot of political and police bad handling of affairs. If that is true, that is not proper and should be curtailed. On the other hand, there is room to speculate that when one is convicted of a crime that it is easy to blame the authorities. That is not correct either.

Bob R
Regina, Sask

Gilles Marcotte said...

Why was it necessary to wait for over 50 years to launch such a vigorous campaign to overturn this conviction. If the thoughts of wrongful conviction were always there, I can tell you that if it were my family, you would have heard my echo from coast to coast for the past half century.

Where was all the family for all this time? I have trouble understanding this, especially knowing that so many of the major players have now died off and are no longer able to be held accountable.

I admire your efforts Sir, but there are some things that appear hazy.

Gilles Marcotte

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Stoddard,

I just happened to read what you wrote about the medias in general, and how you dismissed the two-part series I put together during the holidays for CTV. While you were right to point out that technicaly, Coffin was only convicted for one of the murders, it's generaly accepted that he paid the price for all three killings. You made a career out of researching the case, and you should be congratulated for your efforts. Few people share such deep-rooted interest in the case, which is why newspapers and TV reports will only run short, occasional items on the subject.

The fact they don't devote your time and energy doesn't mean they don't do their job.

Stéphane Giroux, CTV News Montreal.