Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

So, What WAS Bothering Her?

"I want to get through the autopsy first. I want to know whether they're full-term. I want to know if they're fetuses or before 20 weeks of gestation. I'd like to know what the findings are going to be."
"It's my submission that an extra set of eyes, by someone who is not going to interfere or direct, makes the results more acceptable. Two people looking at the same thing, two pathologists looking at the same thing, may see something different."
"What I want is a pathologist that's competent to be present, with hands in pocket and Velcro on his mouth — there to observe."
"She's anxious. All I'm going to say on that is that she's [his client] anxious."
"There's still 10 per cent to go, and is that going to be the last autopsy that's going to raise the charge back again to the charge she was arrested on, murder? I don't know and I'm not going to presume."
Greg Brodsky, Defence lawyer, Winnipeg, Manitoba

"I'd just like to apologize. I'm sorry for bringing her [elderly neighbour] into this chaos."
Andrea Giesbrecht, Winnipeg

"Things have been difficult for you over the years, that is very clear to me. I'm concerned you've had a very lengthy history of gambling. You're an addict."
"You need community support, you need friends, you need family around you."
Justice Janice leMaistre, provincial court, Winnipeg

"She states that she felt the compulsion to make up for the losses and was using gambling as a means to distract herself from her problems, reduce her stress and escape from what is bothering her."
Court report

"No [more] remains were located."
"Other than that, nothing else is going on. As I talked about last week, so much of this hinges on the forensics and that doesn't happen overnight."
Constable Eric Hofley, spokesperson, Winnipeg Police Service
Winnipeg police at Andrea Giesbrecht's house
Winnipeg police have cordoned off an area around Andrea Giesbrecht's house during their search. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Some people seem to live a charmed life. At least that's how it would seem to someone on the outside looking in. Forty-year-old Andrea Giesbrecht lives in the city she was brought up in, went to school at. Where she met her high school sweetheart. And married him, twenty years ago. They now have two boys, twelve and sixteen. They live in a bungalow in the suburbs of a city they're all familiar with. Now that seems like a smooth life, without disruptions.

So with all that satisfaction in life what would drive a woman known for her charity work, to acquire a gambling habit? More than a habit, it seems it became an outright addiction. She became indebted because of her gambling, and a dark cloud rested over Paradise leading the marriage to become one of those proverbial troubled ones. Andrea Giesbrecht's husband was unable to cope. Clearly, they must have discussed the issues that troubled them; perhaps one issue only: her gambling.

In his notes, a probation officer mentioned that he had gained the impression there were no mental health issues involved. But she appeared to be a woman who was disorganized and susceptible to  excitability, so perhaps communication, rational discussions, were not all that forthcoming, after all. No one can look inside a marriage to puzzle out the dynamics between a man and a woman, not even, often, they themselves.

There was a criminal charge laid against Ms Giesbrecht in December of 2013 when a court found that she had written four fraudulent cheques to a 73-year-old neighbour. That her intention appeared to be focused on attaining through fraud, $7,850 from a long-time family friend. When Ms. Giesbrecht's family moved into her late parents' home she befriended the elderly neighbour. And confided that she needed money for bills to avoid foreclosure on the house.

Promising she would repay the neighbour out of her part-time work at Tim Hortons but mostly out of proceeds from her late father's life-insurance policy, the neighbour parted with her money for Ms. Giesbrecht on four occasions. The cheques in repayment of the loans were written on an inoperative bank account.

But it's not the fraud which itself brought disgrace to the family, that now concerns police, but rather a gruesomely inexplicable discovery at a U-Haul facility which Ms. Giesbrecht had rented, but whose rent she defaulted on, causing a company employee to enter the storage unit. She had been advised that in lieu of overdue fees her belongings would be auctioned.

The employee dispatched to open the unit and take possession of what was within discovered the remains of six babies preserved in a liquid. "One is mummified", commented Ms. Giesbrecht's lawyer. She has now been charged with six counts of concealing the bodies of the dead infants. Not yet charged with murder, since too little is yet known of any details of circumstances surrounding the discovery.

The larger question here revolves around the two children who have survived whatever subsequent breakdown in normalcy their mother somehow suffered, expressing itself in the mystery of six abandoned babies. The almost-completed autopsies on the remains will lead the prosecution in the direction it must take under the law.

But for two little boys, their world has already disintegrated. How will they survive this ordeal that fate has ordained they undergo?

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