As of Sunday evening, Quebec provincial police said they’re still looking for Martin Carpentier, 44, who is being sought in connection to the death of his daughters Romy Carpentier, 6, and Norah Carpentier, 11.
“He is the suspect in the events that occurred,” said Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Sgt. Ann Mathieu.
The SQ confirmed the deaths of two missing young girls on Saturday. Police said their bodies were discovered in a wooded area of Saint-Apollinaire.
Police could not provide more details about their deaths but say autopsies will be conducted. The Amber Alert, which was issued on Thursday, has since been lifted.
The SQ is warning residents of Saint-Apollinaire to be vigilant and call 911 with any useful information. Investigators are also asking the public not to approach Carpentier if they see him.
On Saturday night, police said they ran into trouble with people searching in the woods within the police perimeter.
Police are asking residents not to interfere with the investigation and call authorities if they witness anything.
“Since were doing a criminal investigation, important elements can still be on the site or around the area,” said Mathieu.
The 44-year-old suspect was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt, jeans, and might be wearing glasses. He measures around five feet 10 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. Police believe Carpentier likely abducted his daughters in Lévis, Que.
Information has surfaced that Carpentier and his daughters were members of 128th de Charny Scouts group. The group posted on its Facebook page on Saturday that a memorial has been set up in honour of the late Romy and Norah.
“The (memorial) will remain in place for a few days in the little gazebo at the top of the falls. If you want (to), you can write a little word and/or light a candle,” the post indicated.
Mise à jour : Le lieu de recueillement restera en place quelques jours dans le petit gazebo en haut des chutes. Si vous…
Members of the community and the Scout group gathered at the memorial in Lévis, Que., to sing songs and mourn the loss of the young girls.
The group said they’re singing for Romy and Norah’s family, as an act of solidarity and love.
Valeria Munera, who attended École Saint-Louis-de-France with Norah, said they laughed together.
“I feel sad because she was in my school and I didn’t talk very much to her but it’s sad to know that someone that I know is dead like that,” said Munera, a Grade 6 student.
In response to citizens critical of the police’s work on social media, the SQ said they verified each of the reports that investigators received.
“(I)t was impossible for them to meet each of the people to inform them of the follow-up of their request,” the force wrote on Twitter. “We invite you not to move around the premises so as not to interfere with the work of the police.”
Quebec Premier François Legault gave his condolences to the girls’ mother and their loved ones on social media on Saturday, calling it a “national tragedy.”
“Like all Quebecers, I am overwhelmed, without words. Losing two children, the dearest things we have in life, is incomprehensible,” Legault wrote on Twitter.
Bernard Ouellet, mayor of Saint-Apollinaire, said the event has shocked the province.
“Everyone has tears in their eyes. This isn’t easy for anyone,” he told The Canadian Press on Saturday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted about the young girls late Saturday, writing that all Canadians were keeping the family in their thoughts.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante also took to social media on Sunday to express her deepest sympathies to the girls’ family members.
“It’s a (tragedy) of unimaginable pain that strikes Quebec. My heart is broken for young Romy and Norah. All my thoughts go out to family and loved ones.”
— With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise, Olivia O’Malley and The Canadian Press