WINNIPEG – The pathologist who performed an autopsy on 13-year-old Candace Derksen’s frozen body testified to begin week two of the trial for Derksen’s alleged killer on Monday.
Dr. Peter Markesteyn was Manitoba’s Chief Medical Examiner from 1982 through 1999.
He was one of the few people inside the shed where Derksen’s body was discovered in January of 1985.
Markesteyn told court the body was ‘frozen.’ The doctor confirmed that hypothermia was the cause of death.
He testified Derksen was alive when she was tied up but there was no evidence of sexual assault.
Markesteyn later told court Derksen would likely have been dead within 24 hours after being tied up because of the frigid winter temperatures.
Weather records presented to court show it was -25 degrees on December 1st, 1984, the day after Derksen vanished while walking home from school.
Under cross examination from lawyers for the accused, Mark Edward Grant, Markesteyn admitted he could not determine a definite date of death.
He was quizzed on procedures followed during the autopsy. As they have with most witnesses, Grant’s lawyers asked questions about the possible, accidental transfer of DNA by Markesteyn or police officers in the room.
Markesteyn admitted procedures to avoid contamination were not as strict in 1985 as they are in 2017.
Grant was arrested using DNA evidence in 2007 and convicted by a jury of killing Derksen in 2011. That conviction was overturned following an appeal and Grant is now being retried on the same charge.
The trial is expected to last several more weeks.