Caribou native Lee Ann (Guerette) Daigle was sentenced by Justice Stephen Nelson on Tuesday to 16 years, with all but six years suspended, along with three years of probation, for the 1985 death of her abandoned newborn, Baby Jane Doe.
In April, Daigle admitted to the charge of criminal negligence manslaughter.
In the previous year, DNA proof connected Daigle to Baby Jane Doe. In the year 1985, Armand and Lorraine Pelletier stumbled upon the unclothed, bloodstained corpse of an infant girl on the grass of their Frenchville residence, following their dog transporting it from a nearby gravel quarry.
In June 2022, the 59-year-old woman from Massachusetts was arrested by the Maine State Police after being indicted by a grand jury for one charge of intentional, knowing, or depraved murder. The case remained unsolved until DNA evidence connected Daigle to the baby last year.
Nelson stated in Houlton Superior Court, “Although the outcome of that infant’s death was a possibility, there was no certainty that such conduct would lead to it. Moreover, it cannot be argued that the temperature was below freezing. She essentially abandoned and disposed of the baby in the snowbank.”
Nelson stated that one could not imagine a more delicate or vulnerable victim, particularly considering that the victim in this instance was the defendant’s eldest daughter out of three.
Nelson stated that the absence of regret played a role in his choice.
Nelson stated that Miss Daigle should be identified with near certainty through DNA evidence, and it was clear that she was the target of the investigation. Even after 37 years, when it was evident that she held responsibility, she did not take a step forward.
Each day, Daigle carries the burden of Baby Jane Doe’s passing. Family holds immense significance for her, Daigle informed the judge, while her daughters expressed their affection for their mother in Houlton Superior Court. Daigle wept intensely.
I wondered if I could have raised another, I have not enjoyed motherhood by the way my day goes, said tearfully. I should have done more, I could have done more. I made a big mistake. Family is at the forefront of my life. If she was alive, I would have known her.
However, Nelson doubted Daigle’s statements of regret, citing his previous statements to law enforcement.
Nelson stated, at the gravel pit, Daigle confessed to bringing the newborn when authorities informed her that DNA recognized her as the mother of Baby Jane. She declined to provide a DNA specimen for comparison and refuted being pregnant or residing in the vicinity during Baby Jane’s demise when the state police initially questioned Daigle at her Massachusetts residence in 2022.
“Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever considered this claim that it is inconsistent with someone’s suffering in silence with this secret? Have you never given any other consideration to it, never thought about it, never even once, three times, no, no, no, Answer?”
Moreover, Nelson stated that Daigle seemed to consider the baby as an “it” instead of her own child.
During the hearing, Suzanne Russell, the Assistant General Attorney, displayed an airbrushed portrait of Baby Jane Doe, while she missed all the listing.
Russell stated, “she resided in an undisclosed burial site. If an autopsy had been conducted, there would be no crime scene photos. If she had been permitted to live, she would have celebrated birthdays and attended school. She would have experienced a childhood filled with love and affection, and she would have received kisses. If she had reached the age of 38, it would have been possible for her to continue living.”
In 1985, the Pelletiers, whose Siberian Husky, Paca, discovered the infant’s remains in the gravel pit, were all in attendance in the courtroom, alongside the law enforcement officers who assisted in resolving the investigation throughout the years.
Also present were several members of the Daigle family, as well as an officer with top-secret security clearance. Throughout her career, Daigle’s life was focused on caring for her children and other family members, demonstrating how dedicated she was to their well-being.
“According to Nelson, the chances that her actions deprived her first child of are in direct opposition to the proof of the amazing life she has provided for her other two daughters, which serves as a mitigating element; nevertheless, I would like to point out.”
Daigle was instructed to begin serving her sentence promptly and was placed in the care of the Department of Corrections.