July 27, 2012
Three charged in mud therapy death
By QMI Agency
DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. - Three people have been charged after a woman died following a risky mud detox treatment last summer in Quebec's Eastern Townships.
The so-called earth-healing therapy ended in tragedy when Chantal Lavigne, 35, was rushed to hospital following being wrapped in plastic for at least five hours in July 2011.
A coroner later said the victim had been cooked to death as the treatment dangerously raised her body temperature.
Gabrielle Frechette, 53, Ginette Duclos, 61, and Gerald Fontaine, 39, were arrested at their homes. They were charged Thursday with criminal negligence causing death and causing bodily harm to a second woman who was injured.
All three have been released on bail.
Lavigne died following the service at a spa in Durham-Sud, about 110 km east of Montreal.
The victim and two other women were covered in mud and wrapped in a thin sheet of plastic for several hours with the goal of inducing perspiration.
Emergency crews were called to the spa and found the women lying unconscious.
One alleged victim was treated on the scene and a second woman regained consciousness on her way to the hospital, while Lavigne was pronounced dead in hospital.
Lavigne's father, Raymond Lavigne, told QMI Agency that he wants to see justice served.
"Suffering like she did doesn't make sense," he said. "It hurts me to think about it."
He added that his daughter was a victim of fraud.
"I don't understand what she was doing there," he said.
The defence lawyer said his clients followed industry norms, adding that customers must protect themselves.
"If at any time, a person doesn't feel comfortable, they can pull out."