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SASKATOON — Christopher Pauchay, the 25-year-old Saskatchewan father from Yellow Quill First Nation awaiting a sentencing circle for his role in the freezing deaths of his two daughters last winter, will remain in jail after breaching his bail conditions.
Judge Barry Morgan heard arguments from the Crown and defence on Jan. 15 in a Melfort courtroom but adjourned the decision until Friday. Evidence and arguments presented during Pauchay’s bail hearing are banned from publication.
Greenwater RCMP arrested Pauchay on Jan. 8 — the day after Morgan agreed to allow his request for a sentencing circle — at a drinking establishment in a town near the reserve. Pauchay faces charges of violating his release conditions by drinking on two separate occasions — Dec. 14 and Jan. 8.
It was almost a year ago, on Jan. 29, 2008, that an intoxicated Pauchay left his Yellow Quill First Nation home some time after 12:30 a.m., when wind chill values had dipped into the -50 range.
He brought with him daughters Kaydance, 3, and Santana, 16 months, who were dressed only in light T-shirts and diapers despite the blizzard-like conditions.
Around 5 a.m. local time, Pauchay was found alone and incomprehensible on a neighbour’s doorstep, suffering from hypothermia and frostbite.
He was aggressive, so RCMP went to the house along with paramedics, who sedated Pauchay and transported him to hospital with serious frostbite on his back, chest and fingers.
It was not until about eight hours later that it was discovered the girls had been with him.
A frantic door-to-door search began immediately, with RCMP officers checking abandoned buildings and cars but turning up no sign of the girls.
Pauchay said to “check the field,” referring to a patch of ground between neighbouring houses in a cul-de-sac on the reserve.
Santana’s frozen body was found later that day, about 100 metres from the family’s home.
The following day, after a search-and-rescue team joined the effort, Kaydance was found. Her body was about 50 metres away from where her sister had died. Autopsies confirmed both girls died of hypothermia.
Pauchay later told nurses and RCMP officers one of the children had been hurt and he panicked and tried to get to his brother-in-law’s house for help.
The girls’ mother, who was pregnant at the time, has admitted she was out drinking with friends that weekend.
No date has been set for Pauchay’s sentencing circle.
Yellow Quill is about 260 kilometres east of Saskatoon.