More time needed in murder-suicide investigation: coroner

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The province’s chief coroner says his investigation is ongoing into the death of a toddler by his mother in a tragic murder-suicide in P.E.I. last June.

The burned out Jeep Wrangler where the bodies of Trish Hennessey and her son, Nash, were found in St. Felix in June.

Dr. Charles Trainor said Friday he knows people have many questions about how this could have happened and whether anything could have been done to prevent it.

That information is still being gathered.

“This is a tragic event. We don’t want this to happen again in the future and anything that can be done in the future to prevent this sort of thing is what the coroner’s office is interested in,” Trainor said.

“But we need time to complete our investigation before we can go further with this.”

Trainor was reacting to calls in the legislature earlier this week by Independent MLA Olive Crane to appoint a retired judge to review the case.

Crane said an independent examination of the case could help to answer questions many have about how this tragedy occurred.

Justice Minister Janice Sherry wouldn’t comment directly on the case, but said if any coroner's investigations do not reach satisfactory results, she does have the authority to call for a review.

Trainor said Friday these discussions are premature.

“To have a retired judge look into this, I don’t think that’s appropriate at the present time because it is an ongoing investigation and we need time to do our work before anything further can be done.”

Trish Hennessey and her four-year-old boy, Nash Campbell, were found in the back seat of a burned-out vehicle on a quiet dirt road in St. Felix last June.

An 11-week investigation, autopsy and toxicology tests, together with information gathered from a criminal investigation, led RCMP to determine Hennessey murdered her son and killed herself.

Autopsies determined both Hennessey and Nash died of smoke inhalation. But toxicology results also found both mother and son had ingested prescription drugs prior to their deaths.

Trainor says the investigating coroner, Dr. Cyril Moase, will likely need a lot more time to complete his investigation.

“I would say we’re looking at considerable time… we have to gather all the information and look at it, and the information is still coming in. But it’s not something that’s going to be completed in in a matter of weeks.”

He urged patience while the coroner’s investigation continues.

Organizations: RCMP

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