Students at CEGEP de l'Outaouais returned to school Thursday with the grisly death of former student Valerie Leblanc still on their minds.

Leblanc's body was found over a year ago on Aug. 23, 2011, in a forest near the school in the Hull sector of Gatineau, Que.

The 18-year-old student died from severe head trauma, and her body was also found burned.

Police had their command post at the school again on Thursday, with a composite sketch of a man identified as a potential witness in last year's prominently displayed.

But students needed little reminder of Leblanc's death.

Dental hygienist student Martine Robertson arrives at school at 6 a.m., a time when few people are around. It's made her extra cautious.

"I told my boyfriend to check up until I was in school. It's scary, so you know," said Martine Robertson.

Leblanc's body was found when students returned from summer break. 


The Leblanc family and friends left flowers and keepsakes near the site where her body was found a year earlier. (CBC)

Student Erik Colto lives 10 minutes from the school and said it's created uncertainty for the neighbourhood.

"My parents at night sometimes they don't want to go out. It's just something in your head that's still there," said Colto. Police said they hope their presence might help trigger new information and leads in the year-old case.

Gatineau police at the site declined to be interviewed Thursday, but said it had been a quiet day at the school.