Brenda Waudby was a young single mother living in Peterborough when her 22-month old daughter Jenna was murdered in her home in 1997.
Jenna suffered horrendous injuries involving burns, blows, and sexual assault. But rather than pursuing evidence that pointed towards the pre-teen boy who was babysitting Jenna at the time of her murder, Charles Smith instead insisted that the toddler’s injuries could have occurred much earlier in the day.
Armed with that opinion and timeline, police spent months investigating Brenda, and building a case that resulted in prosecutors charging the grieving mother with murdering her daughter.
But months later, the case against Brenda would fall apart as experts poured cold water on Charles Smith’s theories.
In the summer of 1997 Lianne Gagnon was emerging from the haze of grief that had descended upon her and her family in the aftermath of her baby boy Nicholas’s sudden death. She was planning her wedding to her fiance Pete Thibeault when the investigation into Nicholas’s death was reopened, and she found herself accused of the horrifying crime of murdering her son.
A second autopsy was ordered by Dr. Charles Smith, the province’s leading juvenile forensic pathologist, and a man convinced of Lianne’s guilt.
Outraged that his daughter’s freedom was being threatened, Lianne’s father Maurice Gagnon started looking into the qualifications and history of Charles Smith and others in the Chief Coroner’s Office of Ontario. Months into the renewed investigation, Lianne and her new husband would find themselves fighting for custody of their newborn baby girl Nicole.