Cedrika Provencher: The two-year search for a freckle-faced Quebec girl
Almost two years before Tori Stafford was abducted in Woodstock, Ont., another young girl went missing near her home in Quebec. Here is a look at the disappearance of Cedrika Provencher.
July 31, 2007: Nine-year-old Cedrika Provencher disappears in Trois-RiviÃ¨res, Que., after telling a woman she was helping a man look for a lost dog,
August 1, 2007: Quebec provincial police find Cedrika’s grey and white bicycle behind a garbage dumpster, two kilometers from where the girl was last seen.
Police look for a man whom they believed approached Cedrika, and several other young girls, claiming he needed help looking for his dog.
Aug. 13, 2007: Businesses, organizations and individuals chip in to offer $80,000 as a reward for information leading to the girl’s whereabouts. By November, that number climbs to $100,000.
Aug. 23, 2007: Quebec provincial police say a girl matching the description of Cedrika Provencher is spotted with a man in a restaurant in Chandler, Que., more than 900 kilometres east of Montreal. Roadblocks are set up but authorities don’t find any trace of the man or the girl.
Sept. 6, 2007: Quebec police release descriptions of a car and man they believe are connected to the disappearance Cedrika. Police tell the public to be on the lookout for a white man with brown hair who has access to a red four-door Acura, probably manufactured between 2002 and 2004. They say the man is in his 30s.
Sept. 8, 2007: Authorities search for Cedrika in Fredericton, N.B., after receiving a tip she had been spotted there. A woman had told police she saw a man and a girl resembling Cedrika get out of a light-grey minivan with Quebec plates. But the woman later reveals she has never seen a picture of the missing girl.
Sept. 21, 2007: Someone calls provincial police in Quebec saying Cedrika was seen in a white car with U.S. license plates near the U.S. border. Tip leads nowhere.
Sept. 23, 2007: Cedrika’s father helps launch a song written about his daughter. The lyrics urge listeners not to give up hope. The French-language song, called Cedrika, was distributed to French-language radio stations in Quebec. Proceeds are to go to a fun set up to help the family look for Cedrika.
Dec. 21, 2007: Quebec provincial police investigate five “persons of interest” who could have been near or on the scene where Cedrika disappeared. The names of these five people are not released.
May 31, 2008: The $100,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Cedrika expires. Police decide to return the money to anonymous donors.
July 22, 2008: Francophone comic Mike Ward comes under fire for using Cedrika’s disappearance as a punch line to one of his jokes. During a comedy festival in Montreal, he joked that the provincial tax collection department would take the children of those who owe money. "Revenu Quebec, they’re mentally ill. You owe them $8 and they’ll kidnap your kids. They’re the ones who have little Cedrika."
July 31, 2008: More than a thousand people attend a mass marking the one-year anniversary of Cedrika’s disappearance.
April 14, 2009: Cedrika’s father offers advice to the family of Tori Stafford, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared outside her school in Woodstock, Ont., six days earlier: “It’s the type of situation that drastically changes your life, but the key is not give up hope, to keep up pressure on the police and ensure that they’re doing everything they can.”
June 9, 2009: Cedrika’s family enlists the help of prominent lawyer Guy Bertrand to help find the little girl. Bertrand offers a $170,000 reward for information leading to Cedrika’s whereabouts. He says he’ll gather information until the end of September at no charge. He says people can provide him with information anonymously. He says those who do won’t be handed over to the authorities.