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Hypothermia killed Derksen: medical examiner

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WINNIPEG - The man in charge of examining the body of Candace Derksen told a Winnipeg court Friday that the 13-year-old girl had been hog-tied and had dirt on her nose, but no signs of sexual assault were found.

Dr. Peter Markesteyn, the former provincial chief medical examiner, said Derksen's cause of death was hypothermia after she was tied up and left in a shed in -25 weather.

"She lost consciousness pretty fast but it may have taken hours before she died," he said.

Derksen was an "otherwise healthy" teenager before the events that led to her death, he said.

An examination of Derksen's body showed no sign of sexual assault, and he believed she died within 24 hours of when she found herself in the shed, Markesteyn said. He could not be sure of when exactly death occurred.

The expert witness also said the shed was a "dirty" environment, and dirt on Derksen's nose suggested she'd been lying face-down before her body was discovered. Swelling of Derksen's hands also suggested she was alive when she was tied up, he said.

Her body was bitten by rodents after she died, Markesteyn told the court.

Mark Edwart Grant, 47, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Derksen's 1984 death.

Grant wasn't arrested until 2007 after DNA found at the crime scene was linked to him through advanced testing techniques.

Derksen was allegedly grabbed off the street on Nov. 30, 1984, bound with rope and left to freeze to death inside a shed. Her body was found on Jan. 17, 1985, following an exhaustive search that included hundreds of volunteers.

Mike McIntyre is covering the trial live using Twitter.  To read his updates, join the Cover It Live event below.

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