A murdered mother of three. An undercover investigation. A cold case. The multifaceted case surrounding the murder of the 2002 Calgary murder of Terrie Dauphinais is the focus of CBC Podcasts’ new investigative series ‘The Next Call.’ The case was deemed to be solved after nearly two decades, though a court had put a stay on the charges. If you’re interested in learning more about the case, including the alleged killer’s identity and why they committed the crime, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Terrie Ann Dauphinais Die?
Terrie Ann Martin Dauphinais was born to Sue Martin in Nelson, Central Kootenay Regional District, in British Columbia, Canada, on February 21, 1978. In a 2015 interview with CBC News, her mother described Terrie as saying, “She had a heart of gold. She loved to bake, she loved to sew … she could pick up a musical instrument and learn how to play it within the hour, like a saxophone, for instance.” She was a member of the Canadian Indigenous Peoples group known as The Métis.
Hence it came as a shock when Terrie’s step-sister found her body in Terrie’s Citadel home in northwest Calgary, Calgary Census Division, in Alberta, Canada, on April 29, 2002. She immediately called 911, and the Calgary police arrived to find the 24-year-old Métis woman’s body on the main floor of her apartment. However, the officers found no evidence of forced entry into the house and discovered her three children were safe and locked in their rooms.
According to police reports, Terrie’s children, aged eight months, two, and four years, were wrapped in blankets and removed from the home by police welfare workers. The body was taken to the coroner’s office for autopsy and to determine the exact cause of death. Staff-Sgt. George Rocks called the death suspicious but stated no charges had been laid. He added, “Once the autopsy tells us exactly what’s happened at the residence, we will move quickly from there.”
If evidence of foul play could be found, reports stated it would be Calgary’s seventh homicide of the year. Police have never released the cause of death, only stating it was very violent. However, Sue Martin divulged to the media her daughter had been strangled to death. Initially, the police allegedly thought the death was possibly related to postpartum depression, though Sue strongly rejected the assumption. She said, “That wasn’t postpartum. She was beaten from head to toe, her neck broken, and strangulation.”
Who Killed Terrie Ann Dauphinais?
According to investigators, Terrie was possibly attacked and killed in the early evening of April 28 or in the early hours of the following day. Terrie’s estranged husband, Kenneth Dauphinais, no longer lived with the family at the time. He had been working as a part-time delivery truck driver at Bullet Transportation since November 2001. He was arrested, while picking up a delivery, within a few hours of the discovery of the body, and eventually released after an intense two-day interrogation.
However, he continued to be considered a person of interest in the crime for a long period until the case went cold in 2005. On the eighth anniversary of Terrie’s death, the Calgary Police Service’s homicide unit and Crime Stoppers collaborated to release a re-enactment video in April 2010. According to a 2011 Crime Stoppers video, the estranged husband was allegedly the last person to see Terrie alive. According to Sue, she believed her daughter’s case was neglected because of their indigenous roots.
She became an advocate for missing and murdered women and hosted a weeks-long ceremony on Victoria Island near Ottawa in 2015 in their honor. Sue continued to investigate the murder even after the authorities shelved the case, even meeting with the producer, host, and investigator, David Ridgen, to discuss what happened to Terrie in 2015. However, a cold case unit reopened the probe in August 2017, leading to Kenneth’s arrest on May 21, 2018.
According to the investigators, they knew he was living in Winnipeg and was the primary suspect, though he never cooperated with the authorities. The erstwhile Calgary Police’s Acting Staff Sgt. Ken Carriere said, “Information came forward that was not known from 2002 to 2005. As that information was received by the Calgary Police Service, it was evaluated for its veracity, placed in the file that was evaluated by the cold case homicide detectives.” He was charged with second-degree murder and placed in custody.
Calgary police crack cold case murder of Terrie Ann Dauphinais https://t.co/z1d5xxjGUg #yyc pic.twitter.com/NlFMJ44yIo
— Calgary Sun (@calgarysun) May 22, 2018
Court testimonials stated the police used a “Mr. Big” sting operation as part of the investigation. Police sources explained the tactic of the sting operation involves the accused being brought into a fictitious criminal organization where the target builds trust with undercover officers. Eventually, the accused is put into a situation where they might give details of the offense under investigation. Court testimonials showed Kenneth’s young daughter told police her father locked her mother in her bedroom before she heard her mother scream.
In a video played in the court, the little girl could be heard saying, “I couldn’t go to sleep because I saw my daddy, it was dark. I thought he was a bad dad … ’cause he was talking like the animal monster, the cookie monster.” She also alleged Kenneth had locked her in her room, as she kept crying for her mother. The daughter, whose name is protected by a publication ban, also stated, “I heard my momma scream and cry.” However, she would later deny remembering speaking to the police in April 2002 during Kenneth’s November 2020 trial.
Where is Kenneth Dauphinais Now?
Kenneth Dauphinais’ defense counsel alleged the police conducted an incompetent investigation as they considered him to be the supposed perpetrator from the beginning of the probe. The counsel stated the girl had also mentioned strangers coming to the house and her mother running from the house and back to get away from them. The lawyer further contended, “You (the lead investigators) had a bias, you had a preconceived notion that Mr. Dauphinais was responsible for the death of his wife.”
However, the prosecution stayed Kenneth’s second-degree murder charge on November 17, 2021, after a Court of Queen’s judge deemed the evidence that was collected during an undercover operation targeting Kenneth inadmissible. According to court documents, the police allegedly tried to put pressure on Kenneth to admit to the murder by false threats, isolation leading to paranoia and stress, and coercing his children. The judge stated, “The police showed no concept of restraint in the pressure they were willing to put on the accused.”
The judge added, “There has been an abuse of process when one considers the combination of the threat of loss of liberty, the pressure amounting to coercion, the involvement of the accused’s children, and the psychological effect of the four days of confinement on the accused.” While his murder charges were put on hold, the Saskatoon Police Service arrested the 47-year-old Alberta man on December 13, 2021. He had been charged with sexual assault and overcoming resistance to the commission of an offense.
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