A piece of skull thrown into the forest because it was “worthless”: a sergeant from the Sûreté du Québec is now the target of a lawsuit from the mother of the deceased.
Nathaly Rivard’s life was turned upside down on the morning of October 8, 2021, when two police officers from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) showed up at her door. At night, his only son, Thommy Whissell, 14, died in a motorcycle accident in Saint-Émile-de-Suffolk, in the Outaouais.
In the afternoon, MME Rivard decided to go, accompanied by his partner and relatives, to the scene of the accident. There, he “broke,” according to court documents obtained by The Press : “The scene has little or no cleaning. » He saw a long trail of blood as well as personal belongings belonging to his son.
A few days later, on October 12, MME Rivard returned to the place where his son lost his life. His partner then found a piece of bone that turned out to be part of Thommy’s skull. “In the piece, hair matched Thommy’s length and color,” the court document reads.
Without delay, MME Rivard contacted the police. It was Sergeant Sébastien Plouffe, from the SQ, who arrived first on the scene. The latter, “insensitive to the situation”, confirms that it is common that human remains are not collected if it is not a crime scene. “According to him, the piece of skull was of no value to the police,” according to the statement of facts.
“Stunned”, the grieving mother “raised her voice” until another agent arrived who showed “humanity and understanding”. He assured that the police will take the piece of the skeleton.
A day after this “bad exchange”, the funeral home contacted MME Rivard to inform him of the upcoming cremation of his son’s body. He objected, explaining that a piece of the skull was missing, and “asked that the process be postponed”.
On October 18, however, MME Rivard was informed by the SQ that the fragment of her son’s skull could not be found – before learning the next day that it had been found. He decided to go to the morgue, where the piece of the skull was brought, which he found “in a bad state compared to what he first saw”. “It is mostly covered with a residue that resembles dead leaves. »
mME Rivard learned on November 8, after his son’s funeral, that Sergeant Sébastien Plouffe “could have gotten the piece of skull just by throwing it in the forest.” A year later, in October 2022, he discovered thanks to a request for access to information that the piece of skull was found “after hours” in the research carried out by “several police officers” from Investigation Unit. emergency.
mME Rivard now criticized Mr Plouffe for “deviating from the conduct that a reasonable police officer would have taken in the circumstances”. She says she is “unable to mourn her son” and claims to be overwhelmed by distressing thoughts and haunted by nightmares.
So he turned to the Superior Court to ask for $25,000 in punitive damages to Sébastien Plouffe. He also wants to get $135,000 from the court in monetary damages for his inability to work since the tragedy.