Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Quebec coroner launches new probe into botched police search for 2 sisters killed by father | Nation World News

A Quebec coroner will take another look at how provincial police conducted the search for two young sisters after they went missing and ultimately died at the hands of their father, Martin Carpentier, in July 2020.

The announcement comes after new information was brought to light by Radio-Canada’s Enquêtean investigative news program that uncovered how disorganization and too few trained searchers cost precious time in the effort to find the girls alive.

The sisters, Norah and Romy Carpentier, aged 11 and 6, went missing with their father after the vehicle they were in crashed into several sign posts on Highway 20 in Saint-Apollinaire, Que., a municipality about 45 kilometers southwest of Quebec City.

Coroner Sophie Régnière’s initial report, which was leaked to the media about a week before it was officially released on Nov. 3, 2021, said the father left the crash site with his daughters, and a day later, killed them with a blunt object in a wooded area. The body of Martin Carpentier was found six days later. He had taken his own life.

Régnière’s report says the two girls might have been saved had the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) acted more quickly.

The SQ claimed they had jumped on the case of the missing girls quickly and that nothing more could have been done to save the sisters.

But individual police officers, some now retired, offered Enquête a different assessment of how the case unfolded.

They say had the search not been so disorganized, less time might have been lost, and mistakes made early in the investigation cost them precious hours that might have made the difference between life and death.

Quebec coroner launches new probe into botched police search for 2 sisters killed by father | Nation World News
Norah and Romy Carpentier, aged 11 and 6, disappeared along with their father, Martin Carpentier, on July 8, 2020. (Radio-Canada)

“Personally, I think we botched it with the 24 hours we lost,” said André Bernard, a former SQ ground search specialist who retired from the force a few months after the manhunt in Saint-Apollinaire.

New information comes to light

Following the Enquête broadcast on March 10, the coroner also received new information not made available to Régnière during her original investigation, the coroner’s office said in a statement Monday.

All of these new elements have led Quebec’s chief coroner and Régnière to conclude there is a “need to carry out an additional investigation,” the statement said.

After analyzing the new information that has now been brought to her attention, Régnière “will be able to determine whether it is appropriate to proceed with an amendment to her investigation reports, or even to recommend to the chief coroner to order a public inquiry,” the statement said.

The coroner is calling on the help of an investigator from the Montreal police service to assist in this new phase.

Coroners’ investigations are independent and confidential, and there will be no further comment until this investigation is complete, the statement said.

Mother calls on province to intervene

Nora and Romy’s mother, Amélie Lemieux, told Radio-Canada Monday that she is furious that the events have unfolded the way they have.

“I do not understand why we have to dig and force so much to get the truth,” she said.

Quebec coroner launches new probe into botched police search for 2 sisters killed by father | Nation World News
Amélie Lemieux says she feels helpless and angry after she learning there were so many mistakes made by provincial police as they searched for her daughters in July 2020. (Radio-Canada)

Lemieux lamented the fact that information was kept from the coroner and then revealed to the public in a news broadcast.

“It shocks me. It upsets me. It reopens a wound that I had managed to stitch up a little bit, and I don’t understand why I’m not being told the truth,” she said.

She called on Quebec Minister of Public Security Genevive Guilbault to intervene and ensure a full investigation is launched.

“I think that in my place, she would like to know what happened to her children,” said Lemieux.

“We take note of the decision of the coroner,” said Guilbault’s office in a statement, asking the public to let investigators do their work.

Nation World News Desk
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