State crime lab analyzing evidence from Woonsocket murder scene

Madeleine Wright | WPRI-TV

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory is analyzing evidence from the scene of a deadly stabbing in Woonsocket that left an elderly woman dead.

Constance Gauthier, 81, was found stabbed to death in her Fairfield Avenue home in March.

Gauthier’s family and friends are still waiting for the killer to be brought to justice and police have not yet made any arrests in the case.

“She’s a good person. She never hurt nobody,” said Rene Paulhus, the victim’s friend. “Why did somebody hurt her?”

Police sent evidence from the scene to the state crime lab on the University of Rhode Island’s Campus.

Director Dennis Hilliard said he can’t talk specifically about the Gauthier case, but said analysis of fingerprint, firearms and trace evidence can take days to weeks, or even months to process.

“Because it’s not just the analysis of the evidence, but it’s the tactical review of the case by another person who has the general knowledge,” Hilliard said.

With police all over the state sending evidence back to the lab, it’s taking longer to get the work done.

“We’ve had backlogs in latent prints recently because there have been a lot of breaking and entering cases,” he said. “We reduced that backlog from 500 a year ago to less than 70 cases this year.”

There’s also a backlog of the Rhode Island Department of Health, where officials said it usually takes about six months to analyze DNA evidence.

Gauthier’s friends say her murder could be solved right now if the killer would come forward.

“Whoever did that, please come and tell the police about it,” Paulhus said.

Anyone with information about the crime should contact police immediately.

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