Two detectives approached John Daigle a few months ago with a question: When you met your ex-wife in the summer of 1985, was she pregnant?

The inquiry shocked him as much as who was asking.

Lee Ann Daigle Photo courtesy of Maine State Police

Daigle was 23 years old and close to earning his engineering degree when he met Lee Ann Guerrette, 21, at a July Fourth celebration in St. Agatha. It was the start of a summer romance that lingered into the fall – and by November, Guerrette had met Daigle’s parents, even joined them for Thanksgiving. No one knew or acknowledged knowing anything about a pregnancy, he said.

“My mother didn’t mention it,” said Daigle, now 60. “Lee’s mother didn’t mention it.”

Less than two weeks after they shared turkey and stuffing, on the night of Dec. 6 or Dec. 7, 1985, police allege Guerrette drove to a gravel pit in Frenchville and gave birth to a baby girl, then abandoned her in the subzero temperatures.

The police interview with Daigle this spring was the result of years of work as well as recent advancements in genetic testing that led police to connect Guerrette – now Lee Ann Daigle, 58 – to the cold case homicide of baby Jane Doe of Frenchville, Maine, whose death had gone unsolved for over 36 years.


On Tuesday, Maine State Police announced that Lee Ann Daigle had been indicted on a murder charge in the death of the baby so many years ago in Aroostook County.

“I fell to the floor,” John Daigle of Merrimack, New Hampshire, said of the story the Maine State Police told him. “It shocked me, that she had delivered a baby all by herself, at 30-degree-below weather, drove herself home. I’m sure she bled.”

Kristyn Daigle, one of the grown daughters of John Daigle and his ex-wife, said her mother told her after police contacted the family that she never knew she was pregnant in 1985. Kristyn Daigle said her mother told her she was driving home from work that December night when she had a strong urge to urinate, pulled to the side of the road and gave birth, never realizing the baby may have been full-term or alive.

“My mom thought it was stillborn,” Kristyn Daigle said. “It didn’t cry. It didn’t move. To her, the baby was not alive. So to her, it was some freak miscarriage and something that she wanted to leave in the past. People have miscarriages all the time.”

Kristyn Daigle said her mother told her she did not recall anything about the incident until after police told her she was the child’s mother. She said her mother had blocked out the memories, possibly as a response to the trauma.

Kristyn Daigle said her mother cooperated with the police throughout their investigation and gave them a DNA sample, thinking that she would be ruled out because she did not remember anything about the incident.


“We thought that she was like a suspect and that this was all a misunderstanding,” Kristyn Daigle said. “Everyone up in the County is related to each other.”

At first, detectives did not believe Lee Ann Daigle could have given birth without help and suspected John Daigle – then her boyfriend of four months, he said. John Daigle said he produced a college transcript showing he was in Orono in early December finishing school, and a roommate from the time sent police an email backing up his alibi.

“They found it unbelievable that she could drive herself home after all this stuff,” John Daigle said.


A couple of weeks after the apparent birth, the young couple decided to move in together after he was offered an engineering job in southern New Hampshire, and they started their new life together in January, less than a month after the baby’s remains were discovered, John Daigle said.

He said their move was an escape for his ex-wife, whose abusive, alcoholic father tormented their family when she was growing up. Lee Ann’s mother divorced the father, John Daigle said, but he hounded the family from apartment to apartment. In one case, Lee Ann said she remembered clinging to her mother’s leg, crying, as her father beat his ex-wife with a broomstick.


Their life in New Hampshire was a fresh start, and the couple were married July 2, 1987, and soon after had two daughters, now 30 and 33.

“She was a good mom,” John Daigle said. “She never said, ‘I should have never had kids.'”

After the police told him about the suspected pregnancy, John Daigle’s mind immediately went to his ex-wife’s circumstances, and he wondered whether she did not tell him she was pregnant because she feared he would break up with her and leave for New Hampshire without her.

“She was protecting the relationship I had with her, because she probably thought I would have dumped her lickety split,” he said. “This was her ticket, without that child in her way.”

But he said he would have wanted to raise the child if he had known.

“I would have wanted it,” he said. “But she didn’t know that.”



Police had investigated the case for decades, passing it from one detective to the next, with few solid leads. At some point recently, they used a new technique that leverages access to commercially available DNA tests used to trace family and ethnic heritage. Someone in Daigle’s family – it’s unclear who – submitted a sample, and police, who had access to the baby’s DNA, found traces of a match, which led them to the Daigle family.

Kristyn and John Daigle say police used the same technique to track down the father and gave the Daigle family his name, but Lee Ann said she did not recognize it. The man now lives in an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is unable to speak or communicate after years of drug use.

Kristyn Daigle said she spoke extensively with her mother about how she may have become pregnant, and counting backward from December led to Lee Ann’s 21st birthday, she said, but her mother does not remember what she did that night and told police she did not know the man they told her was the father. Kristyn Daigle said her mother suspects she was drugged and raped, but has no memories of how or when it may have happened. Her mother said that during the summer before the birth, she still had what appeared to be menstrual cycles.

After police told her she was the mother, Lee Ann Daigle told her daughter she had a dream about the birth, woke up and called police to tell them what she remembered about pulling over on her way home from work.

Kristyn Daigle said her mother told her she would have terminated the pregnancy had she known about it.


Daigle was arrested outside her home in Lowell, Massachusetts, on Monday, and waived extradition, police said. She made a court appearance via Zoom on Tuesday. She told a judge she intended to plead not guilty, according to The Boston Globe.

She was being held without bail pending a Harnish hearing to determine if she should be granted bail, according to the Houlton District Court clerk’s office. No one returned a call at the jail Tuesday, and Daigle had not been assigned a lawyer yet, a court clerk in Houlton said.


The baby’s remains were found in a gravel pit Dec. 7, 1985, by a dog owned by Armand and Lorraine Pelletier.

The dog carried the infant’s remains back to the Pelletiers’ home and scratched at their back door, and the Pelletiers called police. Officers traced the dog’s steps back to the pit, where they allege the baby was born and then abandoned.

Police at the time found frozen blood, footprints and fresh tire tracks in the snow, and suspected the woman gave birth at night because the blood would have been in plain view, according to a 2014 Bangor Daily News story examining the case.


State police say the arrest is the culmination of decades of investigation by generations of police. One of the original detectives on the case was Charles Love, whose son, Lt. Jeffrey Love, oversees the cold-case homicide unit.

The investigation has been led in the last two years by Detective Jay Pelletier of the state police cold case unit and Detective Chad Lindsey of the Major Crimes North Office, state police said.

The couple who lived nearby, Armand and Lorraine Pelletier, said they remembered letting out their Siberian husky, Paca, only for the dog to return with the infant’s head cradled in her mouth.

The dog tried to get the couple’s attention at their sliding glass door, Armand Pelletier told the Bangor Daily News in 2014.

“She kept pounding at the door’s window to get back in,” said Armand Pelletier, now 71. “She kept pounding, and after a while, I went to go look, and I could not believe what I saw. I saw what looked like a little rag doll, but then we saw it was a frozen little baby.”

Lorraine Pelletier remembered, “a cute little girl with reddish blond hair” that they were later told weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces. Police told them the newborn may have lived 30 minutes in the 30-below temperatures.

In an interview Tuesday, Lorraine Pelletier said she is relieved and saddened that the case has been solved, but still wonders what her life would have been like if the baby had survived. The Pelletiers could never have kids but wanted them, she said.

“If the baby would have lived, we would have had a chance to adopt her,” said Pelletier, 70.

Comments are not available on this story.