Death of Norah and Romy Carpentier | The SQ was “overwhelmed by the situation”

(Quebec) The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) made a series of errors that harmed search efforts for sisters Norah and Romy Carpentier, killed by their father in a wooded area in Saint-Apollinaire in July 2020.

This is what the deputy chief coroner Luc Malouin concludes, who unveiled his public inquiry report on Tuesday morning. Me Malouin interviewed around fifty witnesses over around twenty days at the start of the year.

“I remain convinced that we were slow to treat the case as a worst-case scenario, and that in the police hierarchy, some have forgotten this essential notion,” indicates the coroner in his 85-page report.

The coroner makes a series of recommendations. In particular, he urges the SQ to better train its police officers in the specific context of disappearances. He adds that the numbers deployed on the ground by the police force were not sufficient.

“In a case like this case, the investigator was quickly overwhelmed by the situation. He was a young investigator who had not yet finished his training and had little experience,” notes the coroner, who therefore recommends assigning at least two investigators to missing children.

“I believe that when children under the age of 13 disappear, the presence of two investigators is not a luxury,” he wrote.

Me Malouin also concludes that the SQ should have quickly asked for help from the media. “I believe that on the morning of July 9, when the entire population woke up, turned on the radio or television, read the news in the media or on social networks, it was a perfect opportunity to alert the population of the disappearance of three people, including two young girls,” he wrote.

It was ultimately the girls’ mother who made a publication the morning after the disappearances. “It was following this publication that two people came forward and confirmed having seen Martin Carpentier and his daughters leaving the scene of the accident. »

Martin Carpentier stunned by the accident?

Remember that on the evening of July 8, Martin Carpentier was driving with his daughters on Highway 20 when his Volkswagen swerved. Several people speculated that the father had tried to kill himself and his daughters in the accident. The coroner does not agree.

“I am convinced that this is not a voluntary action, but rather a loss of control of his motor vehicle,” wrote the coroner.

“In his panic, he fled with his daughters and it was only over the following hours, gradually realizing the untenable situation in which he had placed himself, that the idea of ​​killing his daughters before to end his life subsequently came to him. »

Coroner’s recommendations

  • To modify the “runaway, disappearance, kidnapping” management policy ENQ.CRIM.-36 in order to provide for the presence of two investigators for any disappearance of a child under 13 years old;
  • To remind all officers, investigators and police officers of the importance of always considering the disappearance of a child under the age of 13 as the worst-case scenario and acting accordingly;
  • To equip vehicles and police officers with the technology necessary for common sharing of information collected during a police operation;
  • To train the police officers of its emergency service, both for police officers in pool 1 and pool 2, in accordance with national standards for search and rescue, and to ensure that skills and experience are maintained in accordance with to the national standard CSA Z1620-15;
  • To establish simple and effective partnership and collaboration protocols with other police forces, wildlife protection officers and volunteers from the Quebec Association of Search and Rescue Volunteers (AQBRS) and to disseminate these protocols to all of its officers;
  • To trigger a media alert quickly after the disappearance in cases of disappearances, especially those involving a child under 13 years old;
  • To set up a unified command post from the start of a land search operation;
  • To assign a ground research technician to this command post in order to act as a link between researchers and investigators;
  • To provide complete feedback at the end of each day;
  • To better write all operation registers, both for investigative work and for land research;
  • To assign two ground search technicians when, after the initial searches, additional personnel are added.

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