Henri Provencher says it feels like a chapter has closed now that the remains of his granddaughter have been found.

On Monday, he visited the site near where Cédrika Provencher's skull was found.

'You lose something at home and you look all over your house, you look everywhere, and when you find it you think — 'I should've looked there in the first place.'   –Henri Provencher

He's the first member of the family to speak directly with media since a trio of hunters discovered Cédrika's skull in the woods on Friday.

Provencher helped co-ordinate volunteer search efforts when his granddaughter first went missing. He said that as far as he knows, they never looked in that spot.

"It's strange .… You lose something at home and you look all over your house, you look everywhere, and when you find it you think — 'I should've looked there in the first place.' That's what it's like. Except it's a little girl, it's not a set of keys you've lost."

He said police have been doing "phenomenal" work, and that he will always be thankful to the hunters who found her remains.

Provencher added that Cédrika's parents are feeling a "bizarre" combination of emotions right now. He said they're going through "a mix of sadness and consolation to know that it's over."

Police intensify search for evidence

More than 200 officers are combing through a densely wooded area northeast of Montreal in the hopes of finding more evidence in the case, which has frustrated investigators for eight years.

cedrika

Residents left behind stuffed animals and messages of love near where Cédrika Provencher's remains were found on Friday. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau said Monday police decided to dispatch 200 specially trained officers to the scene in an attempt to gather as many clues as possible before snow accumulates in the area.​ 

Cédrika was last seen outside near her home, searching for someone's lost dog on a July evening in 2007.

A group of hunters came across Cédrika's skull on Friday, in an isolated stretch of wilderness on the eastern outskirts of Trois-Rivières.

The discovery has injected hope that the case might be solved.

​In a short statement, police said the investigation was continuing and the force would offer no further comment Monday.

Cédrika Provencher

About 200 police officers searched a densely wooded area of Trois-Rivières, Que., on Monday for evidence in connection with the death of Cédrika Provencher. (Charles Contant/CBC)

On Sunday, Martin Prud'homme, the police force's director general, said the case had "progressed" since the discovery, but wouldn't offer any specifics about the investigation.

No one has been arrested in connection with Cédrika's death.

She went missing on July 31, 2007, near her home in Trois-Rivières.

Police say she was approached by an adult who asked for help to find a missing dog. She was never seen again.

Looking for clues

François Doré, a retired Sûreté du Québec officer who worked on the case, described the discovery of the remains as "a major step" in the investigation.

He said police will be looking for clothing, a weapon, the rest of her remains or anything else that may provide clues, pointing out that DNA identification has improved substantially since Cédrika went missing in 2007.

Police have had a suspect in mind but lacked enough evidence to lay charges, Doré said. 

He said he's "hopeful and careful" the development in the case could lead to an arrest.  

Mourning begins for family

On Sunday, Cédrika's father, Martin Provencher, wrote on Facebook that the family could start mourning at last, thanking everyone for their unwavering support since she disappeared. 

"You have helped us overcome another step in this horrible tragedy."