Search for father and 2 missing children continues in Quebec after Amber Alert issued
Father, 44, suspected of having his 2 daughters in the Saint-Apollinaire area, near Quebec City
A large-scale search for a 44-year-old father and his two young daughters is continuing in Quebec Friday morning.
According to provincial police spokesperson Sgt. Louis-Philippe Bibeau, officers have reason to believe the girls were abducted by their father, Martin Carpentier.
Carpentier and the two girls are from Lévis, Que., across the St. Lawrence River from the province's capital, Quebec City. An Amber Alert was issued for them Thursday afternoon.
Carpentier weighs 130 pounds, is five feet, 10 inches tall, and is wearing a grey T-shirt and jeans. He may be wearing glasses and is described as having thinning hair.
His daughter, Norah, 11, is described as five foot, two inches tall, and thin, wearing a white hat and white Nike sandals. Romy, 6, is described as three feet tall, wearing a pink shirt and heart-shaped earrings, and has on red nail polish.
The girls and their father were spotted in a convenience store in Saint-Nicolas, Que. around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bibeau said.
Police say the family's vehicle was then involved in a crash on Highway 20 at around 9:30 p.m. that same evening.
Police say the grey Volkswagen Passat was heading east when it rolled over several times and came to rest in the opposite lane.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AlerteAMBER?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AlerteAMBER</a> | Les recherches se sont poursuivies toute la nuit. Ce matin, les équipes spécialisées de la <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SQ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SQ</a> continuent les recherches dans le secteur de St-Apollinaire pour localiser les deux fillettes et leur père.—@sureteduquebec
The crash occurred in the Lotbinière region, about 70 kilometres west of Quebec City. When police arrived, there was no one in the vehicle.
Bibeau said the officers are exploring multiple hypotheses, including a theory that the girls were not in the car at the time of the crash.
Investigators are now trying to figure out what happened in the hour between those two events, Bibeau said.
"We're still looking for witnesses, people that can help us to understand what happened in that hour," he said in an interview Friday morning.
According to provincial police, it is believed Carpentier has his two girls in the Saint-Apollinaire area.
Authorities are asking residents in surrounding regions to search their barns, sheds and trailers for signs of the missing family.
Officers combed the area all night Thursday and are expected to continue searching on the ground early Friday morning.
According to Bibeau, canine units and ATVs will be deployed in Saint-Apollinaire.
Anybody with information is encouraged to call 911.
For details visit www.alert.gouv.qc.ca or stay tuned to social and local media.
With files from Radio-Canada, The Canadian Press, Lauren Mccallum and Kate McKenna