The funerals for the three preschool children discovered dead in their mother's home in Drummondville, Que., on Sunday will take place on Saturday in Acton Vale, 14 kilometres west of the village of Ste-Christine, where their father Patrick Desautels runs a tree nursery.
Desautels made a public statement Tuesday, but he kept his comments brief, citing the continuing investigation into his children's deaths.
The bodies of Loïc, 4, and his sisters Laurélie, 5, and Anaïs, 2 were found on Sunday afternoon in the town 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
The children had been on a custodial visit with their mother, which was to have been under the supervision of their maternal grandmother.
Desautels told dozens of reporters gathered in Ste-Christine that he didn't have the words to describe the amount of pain he was in.
"There's a police investigation going on so I cannot answer any questions. I do not want to hinder the investigation."
After speaking, Desautels quickly left the room.
Ste-Christine, where Desautels runs a tree nursery, is about 45 kilometres away from Drummondville.
Community members in the village of 745 have rallied around him in the two days since the grisly discovery.
"We've witnessed a huge mobilization since the news broke," said Mayor Huguette St-Pierre-Beaulac. "A committee was set up right away to help the family, to accompany them."
"We are helping them financially," she said. "We've asked people to prepare food, because you know that in times like this, you can't think of meals. We are asking for people to help out at the tree nursery as well."
Circumstances of deaths still unclear
Investigators are still trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths. Autopsies were performed yesterday, but the results have not been released.
Police have spoken with several people to determine what happened, but say the deaths are still considered "suspicious."
Yesterday, the children's father released a written statement, asking for privacy for the family.
He said that he loved his two daughters and his son deeply and will miss them for the rest of his life.
Police said they've spoken with Desautels but he is not considered a suspect.
The mother of the children, who did not have custody of them at the time, has been in hospital since Sunday.
The reason for that hospitalization has not been released, but Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau said she is receiving care for her "mental and physical state."
He described 33-year-old Sonia Blanchette as an "important witness."
"At this time, we don't fear for her life," he said. "Her health is improving, and once doctors do give us the green light, we will be with her and obtain her version of the events."
Blanchette had visitation rights every two weeks under the supervision of the children's maternal grandmother.