The inquest on the other hand is used to study and make the determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence to consider criminal proceedings as in the case of a cessation of life at the hands of another human being. It is important to understand that an inquest can proceed with or without a formal autopsy depending on the circumstances, and conversely, an autopsy most definitely can be carried out without an inquest.
This posting will focus not only on the autopsies of Eugene Lindsey, Richard Lindsey, and Frederick Claar, all found deceased in the Gaspe' woods in 1953, but will also cover the chain of events leading up to the autopsies, namely the initial search for the remains. It was necessary that I carry out exhaustive research and investigation with reference to these three discoveries. Simply and clearly, I was never satisfied that what was conveyed to the public subsequent to these crimes was a true and accurate accounting.
It has taken over two years to reach my conclusions. I am now ready to proceed with my findings and share them with you. You will no doubt recognize some of which I have stated previously. However, as a result of further investigation, I am able to enhance certain aspects based on information previously unknown to me.
In this whole affair the autopsy reports as put forth by the government of Quebec conducted on the remains of Eugene Lindsey, Richard Lindsey, and Frederick Claar could best be described as shameful. I am convinced that the shameful acts did not begin with the autopsies themselves, but rather with the complete process beginning with the search for the bodies, and the subsequent discovery of the remains by searchers.
As you will see and hopefully understand, the quality and control of the investigation and search would deterioate greatly as soon as the judiciary from Quebec City, under direction from Captain Alphonse Matte seized control from the local detachment of the Quebec Provincial Police at Gaspe' headed up by Sergeant Henri Doyon. This will become abundantly clear as you read and consume this phase of my investigation.
Firstly, with reference to the search, one has to convey the greatest respect to the search team members. True, they were not professional searchers and I am certain they were all taking part for genuine reasons but I have to be fair here. I say that because not all the searchers came from a particular group, and thus, many would not have personally known others taking part. My reasoning for this will become clearer as you read on.
443 St. Vincent Street
Last July 15, at the request of M.Charland, directeur-adjoint suppléant of the Surety Provincial of Quebec, I went to Gaspé, so as to examine the bones that were discovered in the woods, about 60 miles from Gaspé.During the day of July 17, accompanied by Sergeant Doyon, of the local station, of the Surety Provincial Police, I transported myself to the same spot, designated by the name "Camp 24."At this place, near a little river, an incomplete skeleton was found, and partly dislocated, to which adhered some malodorous scraps of skin.The preliminary examination shows that it was only the bones of a single person, contrary to that which was believed at first; the bones were placed in a box and taken to Gaspé for a more detailed examination.
RESULTS OF THE EXAMINATION
Description of the Bones: - The bones are completely stripped of the muscles that were attached and are more or less disjoined; the head and the sides are missing.The extremities of the upper limbs are relatively intact; the skin of the hands is of a blackish brown color, of a wrinkled consistency and in appearance somewhat mummified; the nails are long and rough.
The following bones then form the incomplete skeleton:part of the spinal columnthe two scapulasthe left claviclethe bones of the complete upper limbs: humerus, cubitus, radius, wrists and handsthe pelvis comprising of the bones of the iliac and the sacrum, but without the coccyxthe bones of the complete lower limbs.
Determination of Sex: - The size even of the bones, the marked relief of muscular insertions, the dimension of the pelvis and the force of the obturate holes are those that leave no doubt on the masculine sex of the bones.
Determination of the Size: The measurements of the bones of the members gave the following values:- left femur 181/4" or 46, 35 cms-right femur idem; (?)-right tibia 14-5/8" or 37 cms-right humerus 13-3/8" or 34 cms
When referring to the anthropomorphic table establishing the length of bones following the sizes, we obtain the following correspondences:-left femur 463,5 mm – size 170,6 cms-tibia 370,0 mm – " 168,5 cms-humerus 340,0 mm - " 173,0cmsThe means of the size corresponding to these three long bones is 170,7 cms, being 5 feet 71/2 inches.
The method of the coefficients gives us similar results:-femur 483,5 mm x 3,66 = size: 169,64 cms-tibia 370,0 mm x 4,53 = " 166,71 cms- humerus 340,0 mm x 5,06 = " 172,04 cms
Average of the size: 170,1 cms, being about 5 feet, 7 inches.
Determination of Age: With the absence of the cranium, the only means to appreciate the age of the person who had the bones consists in the research of the degree of ossification of different parts of the skeleton.Radiography demonstrates a complete welding of the epiphyses ( extremities) of the long bones of the members, a welding likewise supplements the iliac peak with the pelvic bone and as well a welding of the crown vertebrae, the ones with the others.And also, the presence of small osteophytes on the level of certain bones and evident signs of arthritis in the articulations of the thumb of the right hand, indicating that this isn’t the bones of a young man or adolescent and that we are in the presence of the skeleton of an adult of middle age.
Determination of Cause of Death: Except for the ( grugement)? spongy end of certain bones of the skeleton, the exam didn’t reveal any trace of significant violence, on the bones at our disposition; it is then impossible, in the circumstances, to confirm the existence of violence of vital origin.
The complete disappearance of the internal organs and other soft parts of the skeleton prevents us from establishing the cause of death.
Summary:The bones found at Camp "24" are those of a man of middle age, measuring about 5 foot 7 inches tall.
The skeletal remains were identified as those of Eugene Hunter Lindsey of Pennsylvania.
The desiccation and the parchment of the skin and the soft tissue of the two hands indicate that death occurred at the minimum of one month ago.
WHITE T-SHIRT:Perforation at the edge shredded with the upper left region of the thorax ( or..could read…" shredded perforation at the edge of the upper left region of the thorax?) at 5 ½" of the center line and 4" below the seam of the shoulder surrounded by a zone of reddish color apparently ( tituée?) caused? by blood – No corresponding perforation in the back.NOTE:The three clothing carry to the dorsal area dte? near the middle about 4" in the lower part of the lower seam of the sleeve, a circular perforation not found on the anterior front.
J.M. Roussel, M.D.
NOTE ON THE PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS MADE BY DR. J. MARIE ROUSSEL, MEDICAL EXAMINER: 25-7-53SKELETON "A"Skeleton found 75’ from camp 26. (It was in a wood box (Dynamex) and included the bones of the cranium.)Lower maxilla,All the vertebrae except one,18 sides,2 scapulas,2 clavicles,2 humerus, cabitus, and right radius,2 bones of the pelvis,2 femurs,Tibias and right fibulas,Tibias and left fibulas
NOTE: The bones of the lower maxillas are partially corroded and it is impossible to make a precise measurement.
Measurements: Left humerus: 33.5 cms or 13 3/16,"Left cubitus: 26.5 cms or 10 3/8",Right humerus: 22.5 cms or 12 ¾",Or 33.5 or 13 3/16" without measured angle,Right cubitus: 26.5 cms or 10 3/8,Right radius: 24.5 cms or 9 5/8",
CRANIUM:Jagged (indented?) sutures (joinings?) evident everywhere past traces of ossification.
TEETH: Lower maxillas healthy natural teeth with no obvious decay, except in the line space of the right interior incisor medians. First lower left molars missing.Upper maxillas: bad establishment of the right incisor (retreating). The first large left molar missing as well as the right.
BONE OF THE PELVIS: The iliac ridge is not definitely welded. With the tip of the pelvis that which indicates an age lower than twenty years.
CLOTHES:A pair of black leather boots with the soles sewn with two rows of thread and two rows of copper rivets under the boots, and also a strap with buckles around the hoses, size about 8.Trousers probably brown with a tinted red leather belt with a series of oblique marks and a buckle with the initial "R"
A handkerchief with brown and green edges and the second with finer stripes,
A white sweatshirt with the name " Hollidaysburg Tigers " on top of the figure of a tiger.
A sport shirt tinted green marked Sportop washable, size "S-14-14 ½" with two pockets in the front on the right and the left
.A windbreaker or red and black checked shirt marked " Woolrich ", size 15 zipper and two pockets in the front.
This skeletal remains was identified as that belonging to Richard Lindsey of Pennsylvania
Pelvis with lumbar column and last cervical vertebras and 7 dorsal, vestiges of four sides, I free side with diaphise part of two femurs whose extremities are notched, diaphise tibia dr. notched.
1 plaid waistcoat red and black checked marked Woolrich with two sleeves turned out,1 pair of blue jeans, two pockets turned out,1 undershirt marked "Croftman" size No. 42,1 T-shirt red, large, Penney’s,
1 left boot brown leather laced with eyelets, soles of black rubber neoprene, oil resisting, size 11.
This skeletal remains identified as that of Frederick Claar of Pennsylvania
NOTES of DR. ROUSSELL
CLOTHING:Red waistcoat property of T-shirt marked Penny’s, 2 circular perforations measuring 7/16" to 1/2 " in diameter distance of 2 " located at the left anterior face of the thorax, a little on the left and in the lower part of the left center.
Circular perforations similar to the preceding ones located right face anterior of thorax 1" in inside of the seam of the sleeve at the level of the right pectoral area.
Large ovalaire (oval shaped?) perforation measuring about 1" long by 5 lines high situated with the anterior face of the thorax at the same level as the former at 1" to the right of the center line.
4 or 5 perforations or tears on the posterior right side of the sweater in the line of the armpit.
Checked jacket red and black Woolrich with chamois sleeves. One notes 2 perforations through the anterior pocket and the left side of the windbreaker.
Perforations or tears in the seam or junction between the right sleeve and the jacket (corresponding to the perforations like on the T-shirt.)
Tear close to the neck (collar) of the jacket at about 2 ½" with the top of the upper snap button corresponding to the ( ovalaire?) oval? tear noted on the T-shirt.
A"Red and black checked jacket with zipper- perforation in the upper left region at 3 ¼" from the 3" in the line of the center and 4" with the top of the higher edge of the upper anterior pocket and to 5" to the lower part of the seam of the shoulder
Circular perforation at 3 ½" to the left of the centerline 5" of the lower part of the seam of the shoulder.
Perforation at the edge shredded with the upper left region of the thorax ( or..could read…" shredded perforation at the edge of the upper left region of the thorax?) at 5 ½" of the center line and 4" below the seam of the shoulder surrounded by a zone of reddish color apparently ( tituée?) caused? by blood – No corresponding perforation in the back.
The three clothing carry to the dorsal area dte? near the middle about 4" in the lower part of the lower seam of the sleeve, a circular perforation not found on the anterior front.
I seized upon the opportunity to discuss the above autopsy reports with a pathologist at a large modern hospital. This particular pathologist has performed many autopsies, not only as a result of his routine work in hospitals, but also doing and working on autopsies as a result of trauma deaths. His first question to me was where is the autopsy report. He snickered and shook his head when I said, "what you see is what there was."
The good doctor pointed out to me that a first year medical student would be expected to turn out a report far superior than what I was showing him. He simply could not believe those reports as stated could help form the basis for the scientific evidence in a multiple murder investigation.
He went on to say that Dr. Roussel's report is little more than an inventory of the clothing worn by the deceased. It could also be a display by the examiner of his knowledge of bones and their names, something that any medical doctor is required to know. It lacked the key ingredients, namely declaring the trauma if any on the skeletons.
The doctor asked me if I knew how these persons supposedly died, to which I declared that officially two of them were listed as dying from gunshot wounds. He then asked where were the bullets or bullet fragments, to which I declared none were ever found. He asked about spent cartridge cases, again the same answer, none were ever found. He then asked about a weapon. The same answer applied, none was ever located.
I suggested to the doctor that one of the younger victims had been reported to have been shot multiple times, and further, that in the case of the younger victims, both were reported to have been shot in the abdominal and chest area. His reply there was the same as I have said many times, that it is difficult to comprehend a human body being felled by firearm multiple times or even a single time in those areas without breaking bones. I explained to the doctor that the provincial chemist had found a mark on one rib, but had also said that it could have been made by a forest animal.
The doctor went on to say that he assumed that a defense lawyer would have been quick to do an "autopsy on the autopsy report" in the courtroom. He cringed when I informed him that was not the case as there was no cross examination on this by the defense.
The doctor also asked me as to how and why they settled on the cause of death as firearm related. I explained that because they had discovered some holes in the clothing they were assuming they were bullet holes. I showed him in the report where the size diameter of the holes to be 7/16" and 1/2" to which he replied as not consistent with small arms to which I readily agreed.
I asked him about the possibility of a stabbing with a round tapered object, to which he agreed was an excellent thought.
I also explained to the doctor that Richard Lindsey's rifle was found with the barrel muzzle filled with mud and debris. I explained to him that a favorite stance of hunters is to walk and stand with the barrel resting in the crook of the opposite arm pointing out to the side. I suggested to him that if someone were walking or standing like that and they were stabbed from behind that they would probably drop and the muzzle of the rifle would be driven into the ground. He suggested to me that my thoughts on that were very reasonable.
He wanted to know if the police considered these avenues. Again I could only speculate that if they did, they kept it to themselves.
When all was said and done the doctor did say to me that even though Dr. Roussel states on each autopsy report that each set of bones were identified as belonging to each named individual, there was absolutely nothing in his examination that would have told him that without outside help.
In the case of Eugene Lindsey, Mr. Clarence Claar had stated that Mr. Lindsey had long finger nails, and you will note in the autopsy report on Mr. Lindsey, Dr. Roussel points out that the skeleton had long finger nails. He pointed that out simply because it had been conveyed to him already.
My conclusions with respect to Dr. Roussel's reports are as follows. These conclusions are not based on my personal opinion. These conclusions are representative of evidence that was put forth by the judiciary of Quebec. As I have stated numerous times, the purpose of this three year investigation was not to offer my personal opinions, but to display to the public as accurately as I can, the events as they unfolded and became part of the overall investigation leading to the execution of Wilbert Coffin.
1) He did not establish a cause of death
2) He did not establish a time of death
3) He found no markings on the skeletal remains to suggest firearm trauma
4) He left no known instructions to the police to convey to the searchers with respect to the handling of the other two bodies should they be found, and as a result bones were simply tossed into cardboard boxes and transported to Gaspe'. There is no way that searchers would have known which bones belonged to either of the two remains.
5) He gave no consideration to the fact that the area should have been cordoned off as soon as the first sighting of human remains became apparent. As a result searchers were going in every direction, picking up remains and items.
6) The police have to shoulder some responsibility here. With the number of people concentrated in the search area, how would the police know if one of them decided to not turn in found items. Afterall, it was the police who touted the story that Mr. Lindsey's money was stolen.
7) The police allowed the area to become a media frenzy upon discovery of the remains. Searchers were taking turns posing for pictures holding up boxes containing human bones, and in some of the pictures that I have acquired, the police officers are in the photos as well.
8) One of the lead police officers in the search in his hair brained wisdom saw fit to pull out his service revolver and fill the carcass of a dead bear with lead instead of doing an autopsy on the bear to find out what it's stomach contents were.
In any homicide investigation the crime scene is where it all begins. It has to be that way. Otherwise it becomes a complete sham, which is exactly what happened in the Gaspe' woods after these murders. It is little wonder that my doctor friend stood shaking his head as I related the chain of events to him.
Before I conclude for today I want to make you aware of another interview that I conducted yesterday with respect to the Wilbert Coffin case. It was with a lady named Evelyn Dodson. Evelyn lost very heavily in the Gaspe' woods as well, when these murders were committed. Evelyn lost her brother. Evelyn was the former Evelyn Claar and it was her brother Fred Claar who was murdered. In the next posting, I shall outline some of the material from my interview. It is interesting because Evelyn, who was seventeen at the time, attended the trial at Perce' with the rest of her family.
This has been a rather long posting but I felt it pertinent for the public to be exposed to the shoddy piece of workmanship that went into the pathology end of this affair.