Woonsocket police adding detectives to Gauthier murder case

Constance Gauthier (Photo courtesy: Woonsocket Call)

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – More than a year after Constance Gauthier, 81, was found stabbed to death inside her Woonsocket home, police tell Eyewitness News they are adding more detectives to the case.

Det. Captain Michael Lemoine was the acting chief at the time of Gauthier’s death and said in an interview Wednesday that investigators are working daily to try and solve the case.

“The longer it goes, yeah, it is more difficult,” said Lemoine. “But persistence will pay off.”

Gauthier was found dead inside her Fairfield Avenue home on March 23, 2016. So far no arrests have been made. Lemoine said Gauthier’s lack of close family and friends has complicated investigators’ ability to determine all of the people she associated with, and therefore, who might have been responsible for her murder.

“She didn’t seem to confide in many people, so if she had an acquaintance that nobody knew about, you know, that would be the person that we want to speak to,” said Lemoine.

He said they’re revisiting witness statements and always looking to talk to more people about the case. He said they’re still processing the abundance of physical evidence collected from the crime scene, noting a backlog at the state crime lab.

Despite that delay, Lemoine said they’ve now received all of the DNA evidence from the scene, though he wouldn’t say if it points to one or multiple suspects, or who those suspects might be.

“We’re still evaluating what was returned,” he said.

Gauthier was described by friends and family as a vibrant woman who didn’t show her age. She had a passion for volunteerism and loved to travel; Lemoine said she had recently returned from a trip to China in the months before her death.

Gauthier’s murder rocked her quiet Woonsocket neighborhood, prompting police to host a meeting to update concerned neighbors on the investigation. That was two weeks after the crime. Now, more than 14 months later, police say they understand the community’s lingering worries.

“We understand their concerns and their fears,” said Lemoine. “And we’re working diligently to try and solve this.”