mtl-julie-surprenant

Julie Surprenant, 16, has been missing since November 16, 1999. ((CBC))

Quebec provincial police said Wednesday they will meet with a nurse who claims to have heard a death-bed confession from a man in the disappearance of 16-year-old Julie Surprenant.

The nurse told a Montreal TV station Tuesday that convicted sexual predator Richard Bouillon told her he killed Julie Surprenant and threw her body into the Milles-Îles River.

Surprenant was last seen getting off a bus near her home on Île Saint-Jean, in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal, in November 1999.

Investigators have already searched the shores of the river looking for clues. Now, said Sgt. Guy Lapointe, they will interview the nurse.

"There's no reason for us to doubt what's been said. But, again, she hasn't met with investigators yet. So we're still going with something that was said on television," Lapointe said.

The woman contacted a popular crime call-in show Tuesday and told the host she treated Bouillon at a hospital in Laval before he died of cancer in 2006.

The 52-year-old was serving a six-year prison sentence for sexual assault at the time of his death.

Bouillon lived in the same building as Surprenant, and was questioned at the time, but no charges were ever laid.

The nurse said Bouillon told her he'd killed Surprenant, stuffed her body in a gym bag, and dumped it in the Mille-Îles River near a church, just blocks from where she lived.

Hélène Boulanger works at a store right by the church.

She said Wednesday that people on the island have all heard the news.

"Here? Everybody is talking about that. Everybody is wishing that they find her — really," Boulanger said.

Michel Surprenant, Julie's father, said he finds the nurse's claims credible, but he's also worried that it might turn out to be true. That would mean he will never see his daughter again.