Quebec provincial police say two young girls who went missing and whose bodies were found in a wooded area southwest of the province’s capital were murdered by their father, who then took his own life.
Guy Lapointe, director of communications for the Sûreté du Québec, said Wednesday that Norah and Romy Carpentier, 11 and 6 — who were the subject of an Amber Alert and widespread search — were killed with a blunt object.
Police also confirmed the body found during an intense manhunt for the girls’ father, who was sought in connection with the deaths, is that of Martin Carpentier. The suspect took his own life but no other details were given about the circumstances of the death.
Lapointe said the girls had died on July 9, shortly after they were involved in a car accident with their father on Highway 20 in Saint-Apollinaire the previous evening. They were dead before the Amber Alert was issued in the afternoon, he added.
“We believe on the morning of the ninth of July, sadly, all those sad events had already been played and all three were already dead,” Lapointe told reporters in Montreal.
The crash — which investigators say was unintentional — was a turning point for Carpentier. The suspect also tried to regain control of the car.
“Until the car accident, the behaviour of the suspect was normal,” said Lapointe, adding he can’t speculate about Carpentier’s state of mind.
Lapointe said prior to the accident, it wasn’t a case of parental abduction. The Amber Alert was only triggered the next day, on July 9, because there was not an immediate concern about the girls’ safety.
“There was worry, but you have to understand they were implicated in a car crash so it was a worry in regards to their status or health following the car crash,” said Lapointe. “It wasn’t a worry that the father would do anything to the daughters, and that’s exactly what we were getting from the family.”
After the crash, responders did not find Carpentier or his daughters inside the vehicle when they reached the scene.
Witnesses saw the three leaving the area on foot, according to Lapointe. Investigators found Carpentier’s DNA inside a trailer within the search perimeter.
The Amber Alert was lifted after the girls’ bodies were found in a wooded area about 750 metres from the trailer on July 11 following a days-long search, triggering a manhunt for Carpentier.
Police scoured the area for 12 days, canvassing the woods and properties in Saint-Apollinaire and nearby communities for Carpentier.
Carpentier’s body was found Monday night — the same day as Norah and Romy’s funeral — about 5.5 kilometres away from the site of the car crash. Earlier in the day, hundreds of people gathered in the girls’ hometown of Lévis as they were laid to rest.
Lapointe said the criminal investigation is complete because the suspect is dead, but police can help with the coroner’s investigation, which is currently underway. The coroner will examine the circumstances of the deaths.
— With files from Global News’ Mike Armstrong and the Canadian Press