Gatineau's police chief says there are still no suspects in the slaying of Valerie Leblanc, but he's confident in his officers and said there is no need to turn the case over to provincial police.

Mario Harel said officers are putting all their energy into the investigation and have not ruled out any leads they have received in the case.

The 18-year-old student's body was found beaten and burned in the woods near her school a week ago.

Harel again put out an appeal for members of the public with potential leads in the case to call police at a special hotline at 819-243-2346 ext. 6677. Gatineau police have also set up a Facebook page in an effort to gather information in the case.

Harel said the Sûreté du Quebec is being consulted but said his investigators have the experience and expertise to handle the probe. 


Valerie Leblanc was in her second year at the the Cégep de l'Outaouais. (Submitted photo)

Harel's statements appeared to be directed at comments made by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu to Radio-Canada and the newspaper Le Droit in which he said provincial police should have taken over the homicide investigation from the beginning.

Boisvenu, who was appointed to the Senate in 2002,  is the founder of the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association, a group he formed after his daughter Julie was found dead in 2002.

He told Radio-Canada a single provincial police force would be better able to handle homicides than the 26 municipal forces across the province.

Body found last Tuesday

The body of Leblanc, a second-year student at Cégep de l'Outaouais, was found a week ago behind the Gabrielle Roy campus of the school in the Hull sector of Gatineau.

Police have also opened a parallel investigation into whether four people who first came upon the body may have "manipulated" it and potentially compromised the investigation. No charges have been laid in that investigation.

The funeral for Leblanc will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Cathédrale Saint-Joseph in Gatineau's Hull sector.