Judge finds Winnipeg woman guilty of hiding dead infants in locker
A judge has found a woman guilty of disposing of the remains of six infants in a storage locker.
Andrea Giesbrecht was convicted on six counts of concealing the body of a dead child. Each count carries a maximum two years in jail.
The decision by provincial court Judge Murray Thompson on Monday was live-streamed from the Winnipeg courthouse by media outlets.
“All of her actions lead to one conclusion: that Giesbrecht was aware that these children were likely to have been born alive and she wished to conceal the fact of their birth,” Thompson said.
“The evidence leaves no doubt that she concealed her pregnancies and the resulting delivery of each of the six children.”
Giesbrecht was arrested in October 2014 after police found the remains in garbage bags and other containers inside a U-Haul storage locker.
Medical experts testified at her trial that DNA linked the infants to Giesbrecht and her husband. They said the babies were at or near full term and were probably born alive, but were so badly decomposed it was impossible to say for sure. They also couldn’t determine how the babies died. One child was put in a pail under concrete, while another was covered in a white powder that slowed decomposition but dried out the body and left it rock hard.
A third infant was little more than a pile of bones wrapped in a towel.
Crown attorney Debbie Buors said in her closing arguments that cement and detergent were used in some of the containers “to mask the smell of these remains so that employees of U-Haul wouldn’t become suspicious.”
She said towels, blankets and other household items stored with the remains also showed that the infants were probably born at Giesbrecht’s home before they were taken to the storage locker.
The trial also heard that Giesbrecht, a mother of two, had 10 legal abortions between 1994 and 2011, as well as a miscarriage. A friend told court that Giesbrecht hid her pregnancies by wearing baggy clothes.
Her husband testified he was unaware of the six pregnancies connected to the charges. Jeremy Giesbrecht also said he thought his wife was hoarding furniture in the storage locker.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky didn’t call any witnesses.
He argued that his client kept the bodies in the storage locker to save them, not dispose of them.