Missing Lesbian Couple Found: Jeanine Blanchette, 21, and Chantal Dube, 17, Suicide Likely Cause of Death

Last Tuesday in Orangeville, near Toronto, Canada, 21-year-old Jeanine Blanchette and 17-year-old Chantal Dube’s friends received “goodbye” phone calls from the couple, who’d been together since meeting in group therapy that February.

Family members, too: Jeanine left goodbye letters for them, too.

After Jeanine’s mother got the letter she went straight to Jeanine’s house, where she found Jeanine’s computer completely wiped of memory and receipts for hundreds of anti-psychotic pills, purchased at two separate pharmacies last Sunday and Monday.

The Blanchettes searched for three days with the help of police and didn’t get anywhere. She said the police told her that the girls had probably just run away together and would be back before long.

So on Saturday they called in Toronto-based psychic Sandra Mae Shaw.

“I just got this vision in my head of two girls in a field laying beside each other,” said Shaw, who said she’s never consulted on a case like this before or previously worked with police.

“Of course, it’s very difficult. You don’t want to tell them that their loved one is gone.”

Ellen’s 17-year-old nephew Bradley Walsh was the first one to spot the two figures in a wooded clearing on Friday, near the Dufferin Child and Family Services building in Orangeville where Blanchette and Dube met in a group-therapy session about nine months ago.

“I’ll never get their faces out of my head,” said Jolene Blanchette, Jeanine’s 19-year-old sister.

When Walsh started screaming, the rest of the family members ran toward the clearing.

Jolene remembers exactly how her big sister looked. Jeanine was lying on a blanket, curled into the fetal position, still wearing her glasses. Chantal was beside her.

“She looked peaceful,” Jolene said quietly, as she sat in the living room inside her mother’s Oshawa home on Sunday and relayed the story of the family’s desperate search with the help of her aunt, cousins and mother.

Jeanine had been suffering from depression and had checked herself into a hospital in September. She was put on medication and released a few days later. Her mother feels she was released too soon. We are inclined to agree with her.

The past week has been devastating for the earth and the world and every human being with a soul as so many gay kids and teenagers have killed themselves as a result of repeated and unbearable gay bullying.

Was that the case here?

The family says “no” and it seems the only thing implying that this was at all related to gay bullying is that there were a lot of other gay bullying cases recently.

We’re going to say “it was a lot of things.” As much as somebody may want one reason or one cause or one explanation to make a neat story and a subsequently simple solution, that’s rarely the case. But really does anyone ever really know. When a person is so young. What happened in their relationship. Would it have been different if somebody had been straight. Would the police have looked more. Did they have trouble at the hospital. Are these questions pointless. Is that why we are asking them without question marks. I mean what the hell.

Many people don’t “get” mental illness or understand it or want to touch it. It can be tricky. I don’t know how it works in Canada but in the US they try to get you in and out of the hospital as quickly as they can because of insurance and overcrowding. Not that the doctors aren’t trying. Most people are trying and doing everything they can every day, you know. The thing is that medical mismanagement of mental illness can result in death just like mismanaging physical illness can. Letting someone still in the throes of a depressive episode out of the mental hospital can be like letting someone out of the hospital still bleeding from half the places they’d entered bleeding from.

If you, like me, have seen your loved one go into a mental hospital, get written a prescription and then shuffled out the door only to attempt suicide shortly thereafter, perhaps you, like me, are nodding and saying “this happens” and feeling upset and hoping people recognize the urgency of fixing this kind of thing. You might remember Mitrice Richardson and think “this happens”. You might just look at the ceiling or your hands and think “this happens” and that it’s sad.

Chantal Dube’s sister told Autostraddle, “Chantal was a fun loving girl who had her whole future ahead of her.  She will be dearly missed by her parents, her brothers and sister, niece and nephew and by the many, many, many friends that she had. “

This is the end of a newspaper article called “Family-led search party finds bodies of missing women in Orangeville”:

[Jeanine] was a personal support worker who worked in a home for adults with disabilities, but had to take time off work when she started feeling depressed several months ago.

“She was just hurting,” Jolene said.

Jeanine admitted herself to a hospital in September. She was put on prescription medication and was released several days later. Her mother feels she was released too soon.

Family members said Jeanine was a deep thinker who wrote poetry and kept her feelings to herself.

“She was good at reading people,” said her grief-stricken mother, who sat stone-faced while telling her story. “She could read ya.”

There is a pause, and then one of her cousins adds, “And nobody could read her.”


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Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2444 articles for us.

53 Comments

    • I should probably direct this question to suicide.org, but they don’t seem to have a comment function, so: I agree that suicide shouldn’t be thought of as a crime, but “died by suicide” makes it sound like a disease or something rather than an action. I understand that sometimes there really is no choice, but I don’t think all suicides are like that. Basically I’m afraid that, using a phrase like “died by suicide”, we risk depriving suiciders of their agency.

    • the word commit is not just used in crimes. it’s also used to say she committed herself to her wife, or to the job. I don’t see the problem. Look up some definitions of it, most of them have more to do with pledging, some synonyms are carry out, effect, execute.

  1. this makes me so so sad. i don’t think those questions are ever pointless.

    in reference to the above comment, i had a professor that said “suicided” and I wondered why, but now I think maybe that was his version of not saying “committed suicide.” hadn’t thought of that before.

  2. It would be nice to think that doctors are trying. In reality, they are giving children and adults heavy psych drugs that can completely alter a person’s reality, pushing them out the door, not explaining the precautions and dangers of taking and/or not taking their meds, and not following up with them.
    Been there, done that. Sad, but true. All patients need advocates. The docs are not their advocates.

    • Yeah I actually completely agree with you. I think I started to feel guilty that maybe it seems like I am constantly blaming doctors because I’ve had so many terrible experiences (EVEN PRESENTLY TODAY AS WE SPEAK) both personally and with friends/exes/family etc so I tried to say something nice, because maybe I also imagine all of these tired people with all this medical school debt who are working a billion hours and have too many patients and then I just feel like the whole world is fucked and then I need a xanax.

    • I completely agree with you on this anonmom..I`ve been in and out of so many hospitals and mental institutions for bi-polar and suicidal overdoses/attemps and I“ve been on a out patient waiting list for about 5 years now and still haven`t received any help. I checked myself in to the urgence sante for depression and help with my bi-polar highs and lows last November and I walked outta there a few days later with prescriptions that I was allergic to and had to be rushed back in..only to leave again with new prescriptions..which i had to stop taking cuz they turned me into a vegtable..and the worst part is that when i had went in for mostly bi-polar and depression help..etc..(I wasn`t suicidal than and haven`t been for years..)..is that as soon as they found out i was a single mom..they started threathening me with social services..so of course..there goes any chance of help and I pretended to be ok cuz i was scared and in the end..they actually did call social services to look in on me and my son..and how weird is it that I was lucky enough to get a really good social worker..who after a surprise visit to my house, saw that all was well with me and and my son, the house, full fridge..etc…he went through all my medical files and is making the doctor`s speed up the process and having a proper assesment of my bi-polar and proper follow-up..so I was lucky in this case, but remember..originally, the hospital didn`t treat me properly and only outta concern for the child and not the patient, did they call social services. If something like this would`ve happened when i was younger, the outcome could`ve been much different, but now that I`m older I took it all in stride. It`s sad, but also downright maddening how the system fails so many people in need of help.

      • Sometimes help arrives in unexpected ways.

        It’s something I need to remember, as I’m schizotypal and tend to be afraid of most people. But some really do want to help, and can help.

        Whether to take the meds: that can be a difficult decision. I was on Risperdal and it made me feel much worse. Finally I went to a different psychiatrist and whaddya know, he said I shouldn’t be taking that stuff. (Stil with him, 7 years later!)

  3. My heart fucking fell when I read this.

    And I’m sad and angry and ashamed to say this, but in my experience, it’s really fucking easy to get discharged from the Canadian public mental healthcare system. (I live in Manitoba, not Ontario, so it may be different there, but based on this story, it doesn’t seem so.) The fact that it’s federally funded doesn’t seem to make much of a difference; there’s always too many depressed kids and not enough beds.

    Healthcare-provided psychiatrists don’t reach deep enough, and maybe they don’t know how to. You can’t ask someone suffering from depression (or any mental illness/disorder, for that matter) where it hurts like you’re treating a sore throat. And it’s easy to play the system, especially when the system has no idea what the fuck to do with you.

    There ARE people out there who desperately want to help. But in my experience, and in that of people I know, they’re pretty fucking hard to find.

    And that part about the psychic is so bizarre, I don’t know what to say.

  4. Oh jesus. A friend of mine from Orangeville (currently living in BC) mentioned something horrible having happened. I never thought that this…oh god, this is insane. Why do people keep dying askfjkdfdsldfjfks I don’t know how much more of this shit I can deal with.

  5. this has definitely been a hard week, to hear about all these suicides that shouldn’t have happened…

    it’s also creepy because i also take care of ppl with disabilities.. and i have had my bouts of depression and thought about checking myself into a mental hospital.. i have also gone to the doctor and been given prescriptions, but i never fill them because i believe they often don’t help but only make things worse.. there’s nothing worse than feeling like you can’t control your own thoughts and you need drugs to help you feel normal..

    anyway it all makes me think that it could have easily been me, or anyone else who is going through a tough time.. it’s hard to grow up and feel like you don’t belong.. and i know there are places to go get help but sometimes you really do feel like it doesn’t matter, because if you are depressed it’s like it is something that is common, and the doctors just prescribe you something and send you on your way, when really people should take the time to understand what you are going through..

    </3

    please, no more sad news! 🙁

    • To be fair, in combination with appropriate talk therapy, the drugs can be lifesavers to some people. They certainly are for my mother. Although just throwing drugs at the problem in the absence of anything else is like trying to shore up a dam with pea gravel.

  6. My name is Stacey….Chantal’s sister. The reason why you have not heard anything about Chantal is because this is a private family matter. You should have gotten your facts straight before writing your story,many of your facts are untrue. Plus you did not have permission to use my sister’s name. Did you even thought to try to track down Chantal’s family to get a statement…no!

    • Journalistic sources have to get permission to use someone’s name? Honest question, I’m googling now in my confusion.

      As for reporting the story, I’m certain that no one on this site intended to report anything untrue. See Brianna’s question above.

      You have my sincere condolences.

      • No, if the victim is not a minor and is a part of a police record, his or her identity becomes part of the public record and is allowed to be reported without the permission of the victim or the victim’s family. Unless there is a specific ethical reason for withholding an identity, like sexual assault victims (sometimes), most news sources will report the names of the victims. As for factual inaccuracies, I’m sure if there are any, they were unintentional and correctable; the Autostraddlers are pretty awesome at being accurate.

        Also, I just want to give everyone a hug.

        • Stacey I emailed you at the email address you used to post this comment.

          Brianna, Grace, Maryann – Yes as you said, all our facts came from other newspapers and a CTV news report which are all cited here. We also spent a good chunk of the afternoon trying to track down anything about Chantal and came up empty and hope to hear back from Stacey and other friend who contacted us.

    • My condolences, Stacy. I imagine it must be very difficult to have your family thrown into the spotlight during such a painful time.

      Let’s remember that these girls are more than headlines or martyrs to any cause. And let’s take care of each other while we still have each other.

      It can get better.

  7. This all hurts my heart.. I, too, have had my run ins with the (less than) “incredible” mental health system for over 15 years. After an onslaught of various medications, I’ve come to discover that they JUST DON’T HELP. And, for that matter, neither do the doctors who prescribe such things.
    It’s terrible to read about so many young people who have ended their lives so early because of the harsh realities of life. Whether due to ignorant purple, an ignorant society, or serious problems that no one acknowledges.. Can’t we all just say ENOUGH, and start treating each other with love?

  8. This wrecked my day. I am so sorry to hear about the losses these families are experiencing. It’s really heartbreaking to keep reading all these stories. I just wish these teens had gotten to see it does get better even after the hardships.

  9. My lady has anxiety, OCD, and depression. I am in the midst of self-recovery from anorexia nervosa.

    We have our television-worthy moments of despair and pain, and our problems feed one another (no pun intended). But we keep reminding each other that one day, we can wake up in the same bed, bathed in the molten gold light of sunrise and be HAPPY.

    I wish I could hold every single person’s hand – gay or straight or somewhere else on the spectrum – and show them that there are so many things to live for. The little things. Like back massages, beautiful autumn mornings, Saturday Night Live, stupid fads, tall-five-pump-sugar-free-vanilla-green-tea-lattes.

    Life. And love.

  10. One of the definitions of commit is: “to do; perform; perpetrate: to commit murder; to commit an error.” -www.dictionary.com

    The word “commit” does not suggest crime and if you think it does then you need to study some more English. It’s actually sort of an insult to the language itself.

    I will continue saying “commit suicide” because it literally means to perform suicide.

    Maybe certain people should stop trying to be PC because more often than not it just ends up sounding ignorant.

    • In my supporting comment above, I was merely thinking of the phrasing favored by many people who study suicide. I don’t study suicide myself, I just happen to be close friends with someone who has done nothing but, for the last year.

      I haven’t stopped using the phrase “committed suicide” myself, because I’m not in a psych research lab that will correct me if I do, and “died by suicide” is awkwardly passive and often clunky in context. I just think it’s an interesting thing to think about. Perhaps I should have made this clearer in my initial comment.

      For the record, I’m mostly going off of my interactions with Matthew Wintersteen’s lab at Jefferson, but check out “Suicide and Language” by Doris Sommer-Rotenberg, which is easy enough to google.

    • Very well said, Wallow14. Committ is not just a forensic term! The PC thing is making me shut off others. It is too much. My heart grieves the loss of these kids. It’s just awful, beyond awful. It is so difficult to find the words to express the despair I feel at lives wasted.

    • That might be the dictionary definition, but the common usage of the term links it with criminal acts – committed murder, committed assault, committed arson, and so on. Given suicide’s status as a former / current crime (depending on jurisdiction), I’d argue that the term ‘committed suicide’ is similarly associated with criminality.

      The meaning of a term can’t be deduced simply by referring to what it means ‘literally’, that’s absurd.

      Perhaps I sound a little terse, but it really bothers me when people say things like “perhaps certain people should stop trying to be PC”. I’m not trying to be PC. I’ve seen people in three generations of my family ACTUALLY KILL THEMSELVES. I’m trying to speak in a way that most sensitively and accurately conveys the way in which they died, and allows me to live with it, too. ‘Committed suicide’ bothers me as a term for reasons entirely unrelated to being PC. It would be nice if you could bear in mind that you when you say things like “more often than not it just ends up sounding ignorant”.

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  12. Your all so rude. i agree with Stacey. Chantal’s family is going through a hard time right now. and you leaving nasty rude comments on her isn’t helping. So get your facts striaght before you go off telling rumours.

    iloveyou Dube family im so sorry for your loss. Please is you every need anything dont hesitate too call me.

    R.I.P Chantal Nicole Dube. You Will Be Dearly Missed.

  13. all of this is true,
    but what is false about this story, is that they were NOT found beside each other. i know the mother of Chantal. Chantal was found a few feet away, as if she collapsed while walking away.

    • I dont know who u are…but we the family didnt want everyone knowing that info, its an on going investigation, so please dont say anything else to anybody, obviously we know u cause we told u that in confidence…..nice friend whoever u are!!!

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