The family of Marilyn Bergeron, a 24-year-old woman when she was last seen nine years ago today, believes she may still be alive and that someone in Montreal may know something about her disappearance.
Andrée Béchard, Bergeron's mother, had a message for her daughter at a news conference in Montreal Thursday.
"Marilyn, if you're still alive: for us it's like yesterday you disappeared. We love you, we're waiting for you with open arms, and we miss you so much," Béchard said.
She said the family is now working with well-known lawyer Marc Bellemare to set up an anonymous tipline. It's tripled a previously offered reward for information, increasing the amount from $10,000 to $30,000.
Bergeron 'worried about her safety' before she disappeared
Bergeron was living in Montreal at the time of her disappearance, but she'd returned home to her parents' house in Quebec City a few days before she disappeared.
Bellemare told the news conference it was clear something was troubling Bergeron at the time.
"She was quite nervous, and she said to her mother something happened, and that she worried about her safety in Montreal," Bellemare said.
Béchard says her daughter never elaborated.
Bellemare said the family believes someone in Bergeron's former social circle in Montreal might have more information.
Family wants SQ to take over investigation
Quebec City police investigated the case. The police theory for several years was that Bergeron might have committed suicide.
Bellemare said the family has never believed that.
"We think probably a crime has been committed -- kidnapping, murder," he said.
Bellemare said Quebec City police did the best they could, but the family believes provincial police should take over the investigation.
"Everybody knows the best police department in Quebec is the SQ. They have experience. They've seen a lot of things like that," Bellemare said.
"We want the best, and I think the very least the family deserves today is the best," he continued.
He said the family raised the idea in a meeting with the former public security minister, Lise Thériault, last year, but Thériault rejected the proposal.
Parents find strength together
Béchard said it's been difficult not knowing what happened to her daughter and that at times it has put a strain on her marriage.
But she said she and her husband have found strength together.
"We didn't sit on the couch crying, saying, 'What can we do? We'll never find her.' No. We wanted to keep this investigation alive,'' Béchard said.
Marilyn Bergeron is 5'7" and weighed 115 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She had brown hair and green eyes. She had a tattoo of Pegasus just below her right collarbone.
Anyone who might have information about Bergeron's disappearance is being asked to contact Marc Bellemare, at 418-681-1227 or toll-free at 1-800-840-1526.