Julie Surprenant's father suspected neighbour

The father of a teen who disappeared 12 years ago told a coroner's inquest that he started his own investigation into his former neighbour, a convicted sex offender.
Michel Surprenant, seen here last September as police launched a new search of the river, said he didn't know about his neighbour's past until after his daughter's disappearance. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The father of Julie Surprenant told a coroner’s inquest Wednesday that he would have moved if he had known there was a sex offender living in the apartment above him.

Years later, that man, Richard Bouillon, confessed to his nurse at the Cité de la Santé hospital in Laval that he murdered the teen.

Sixteen-year-old Surprenant was last seen in November 1999 at a Laval bus stop. Her body was never found, but she is presumed dead.

The Quebec coroner made the unusual decision to hold the inquest despite that fact that her remains were never recovered.

Parallel investigation

Julie Surprenant was last seen in November 1999.

On Wednesday, Julie’s father, Michel Surprenant, testified at the inquest, detailing a parallel investigation into his daughter’s disappearance that he initiated after he became frustrated with the pace of the police probe.

At the time of Julie’s disappearance, Bouillon had a long criminal record for sex offences.

Surprenant told the inquest that in 2000, he went to the Laval courthouse to try and track down more information on his former neighbour’s criminal past.

He said no clerk there was willing to help him.

Meeting denied

Years later, Surprenant discovered that Bouillon was dying and he went to the Sûreté du Québec to request a meeting to see if he could get the man to confess to the murder of his daughter.

He said he was disappointed when the police wouldn’t allow the meeting.

Earlier this week, a nurse from Cité de la Santé testified that Bouillon told her on three occasions that he murdered Surprenant.

She testified that the dying man went into detail about he had stuffed the teenager’s body into a sports bag with some bricks and thrown it into the Milles Îles river across the way from a church in Terrebonne.

Police resumed their search for her body last year after a nurse told authorities about the confession.

Investigators called off a search of the river in September after no sign of Surprenant was found.