Ten years after Quebec teenager Julie Surprenant went missing from a bus stop, her father Michel is calling on the government to create a special squad dedicated to missing persons cases.
Sixteen-year-old Surprenant was only 50 metres from her home in Terrebonne, Que., when she vanished on Nov. 16, 1999.
Her father said he hopes the Quebec government will act to help prevent other families from going through the anguish he has endured.
"When somebody disappears, it has to be considered as a crime," Suprenant said. "It's important to deploy the [necessary manpower] on the first moment of the … disappearance," Surprenant said.
He said he will never give up searching for his daughter.
"If she's alive somewhere … I can't leave her there, you know. I have to continue to try to reach her," he said.
Surprenant’s call for a dedicated police squad to investigate missing persons cases has received the backing of the Missing Children's Network.
The squad would help increase the chances of finding a missing person, especially in the case of a criminal abduction, said Pina Arcamone, the group's president.
"We have statistics that show the importance of the first three hours of a search when a child has been abducted by a stranger," Arcamone said. "If you want to find this child alive and well, the first three hours are really critical."
Surprenant is also asking the government to do more to educate the public about the presence of known sexual predators once they are released from prison.
"At least advise the people that live [in the area]," Surprenant said. "They have to know there is a danger around them."
Though nobody was ever charged in connection with the disappearance of Julie Surprenant, the main suspect was Richard Bouillon — a known sexual offender who lived in the area.
Bouillon died of cancer in prison three years ago.