January 27, 2008
Hebbville, Nova Scotia
Penny Boudreau kills her 12-year-old daughter Karissa Boudreau to save her relationship with her boyfriend
(WARNING: this article references court documents which describe the murder in detail, and may be graphic to some readers. Discretion is advised.)
According to court documents, Penny’s relationship with her boyfriend Vernon Macumber had become strained, to the point Macumber told Penny to choose between her boyfriend or her daughter.
Penny chose her boyfriend.
On January 27, 2008, Penny and Karissa drove to a grocery store together and got into an argument. While at the grocery store, Penny called Macumber to tell him Karissa had run away. Penny then drove to a remote location where the pair argued more, and Karissa attempted to leave the vehicle. Karissa either slipped or was pushed by Penny, with her hands trapped beneath her back. Penny pinned Karissa to the ground, pushing her knees on Karissa’s chest, then took a piece of twine and wrapped it around her daughter’s neck. During this time, Penny could feel Karissa’s hands gripping the ground beneath her body. In her statement to the court, Penny noted Karissa’s last words were, “Mommy, don’t.”
Penny stopped strangling Karissa once she was confident her daughter was no longer breathing, put the twine in a coffee cup which she threw away, placed Karissa’s body back into the car, and drove to another remote location. As her body was dragged out of the car, Karissa’s jeans, underwear, and socks were partially removed. Penny decided this would suggest Karissa was sexually assaulted and left her body mostly disrobed, then rolled the body down an embankment.
Penny returned home and reported Karissa as a runaway to police, and called relatives to tell them the same story. She claimed the two had argued in the grocery store parking lot, that Karissa stayed behind in the car while Penny shopped, and when she returned Karissa was gone. Penny also made televised pleas to Karissa, asking her to return home.
On February 9, 2008, a mother stopped her car on the side of the road to allow her 9-year-old son to urinate in relative privacy. The boy saw what appeared to human toes sticking out of the snow, screamed, and informed his mother of the finding. The frozen remains were identified by dental forensics as Karissa Boudreau.
Investigators suspected Karissa had been killed by someone close to her, and a disturbance call to police furthered their suspicions. On February 11, a neighbor overheard a “ruckus” from Penny’s apartment. The neighbor heard items being thrown around and Macumber repeating “Penn, how could you do this?” and “I don’t understand, you got me involved.”
Penny and Macumber were arrested. Macumber was approached by an undercover operator while in prison, who claimed to be part of a crime syndicate. Once trust was established between the operator and Macumber, it was suggested the operator could help destroy evidence against Penny obtained by the police. To help destroy all possible evidence, the undercover operator claimed, Penny would need to give a detailed account of the murder including a re-enactment. Penny obliged, and the evidence was used against her at trial.
Penny was allowed to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of murder in the second degree in exchange for a reduced sentence. She was given a life term with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Macumber was not formally charged in Karissa’s murder due to a lack of evidence that he had issued the ultimatum to Penny or that he believed she would resort to killing Karissa. Crown attorney Paul Scovil, however, “suspected very strongly that he must have had an idea.”
Karissa’s father Paul Boudreau, whom Karissa had been living with prior to moving in with her mother, called his daughter’s death a “senseless act.” He continued, “Had I known this was going to happen, I would have never let her go back. But what parent is going to say, ‘No, you can’t go back and see your mother.’”
“Penny Boudreau gets life for killing her 12-year-old daughter Karissa.” Saltwire Network. July 2, 2010. Updated: September 30, 2017. Accessed: January 27, 2020. https://www.saltwire.com/news/provincial/penny-boudreau-gets-life-for-killing-her-12-year-old-daughter-karissa-121695/?location=corner-brook
“N.S. woman admits she strangled daughter to keep boyfriend.” CBC News. January 30, 2009. Accessed: January 27, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.809803 (image source)
“R. v. Penny Boudreau. Agreed Statement if Facts. January 30, 2009.” Yumpu. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/26840769/r-v-penny-boudreau-agreed-statement-of-facts-canadacom