Laval high school students grapple with death of classmate

Students in Laval huddled in the cold outside their high school on Friday morning, sharing hugs and tears after a fellow schoolmate was found dead in a creek just steps away from the building. Her death was ruled accidental.

Athena Gervais found in stream behind École Poly-Jeunesse, death ruled accidental

Students console one another alongside a police officer outside École Poly-Jeunesse in Fabreville, where Athena Gervais went to school. Her body was found Thursday. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Students in Laval huddled in the cold outside their high school on Friday morning, sharing hugs and tears after a fellow schoolmate was found dead just steps away from the building. 

One friend said she was always there for her. Another said he will always remember her smile.

The body of Athena Gervais, 14, was discovered in a stream behind École Poly-Jeunesse.

An autopsy indicates her death was an accident, Laval police said. Spokesperson Stéphanie Beshara said alcohol may have been a factor.

"We're studying all possibilities, but it's really the toxicology report that will help us understand if she consumed alcohol, what she consumed and in what quantity," she said.

The girl's body was recovered late Thursday afternoon in a stream behind École Poly-Jeunesse in Fabreville, in northwest Laval.

Laval police say Athena Gervais, 14, was reported missing on Monday. Her body was found Thursday. (Laval police)

She was last seen alive on Monday, leaving the school at lunchtime. She didn't return to school in the afternoon, and she never showed up at home later.

Her body was found by a firefighter a day after investigators set up a command post near the school. 

The school board decided to keep the school open on Friday to be able to offer students and staff support, said Jean-Pierre Archambault, a spokesperson for the Commission scolaire de Laval.

"We put all the alternatives on the table, but it became obvious to us that we had to open the school," Archambault said, adding social workers are on hand to help.

Students head into École Poly-Jeunesse in Fabreville on Friday. Social workers and support staff were on hand. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Students and staff have been collaborating with investigators, he said. 

Once the cause of her death is determined, the school will consider what measures to put in place to prevent it from happening again, he said. 

Couche-Tard pulls potent alcoholic drink off its shelves

Convenience store chain Couche-Tard announced Friday it would be pulling the potent alcoholic drink FCKD UP from its shelves.

The statement said the decision was made following recent events in the hours prior. 

"At Couche-Tard, we ensure at all times that the customer is old enough to buy the product. Our policies are very strict," the statement reads. 

On Friday evening, Geloso Group, the beverage company behind FCKD UP, announced it would consider going so far as to pull those types of products.

One can of FCKD UP contains an alcohol content of 11.9 per cent. It was available for sale at a CoucheTard near École Poly-Jeunesse. 

"The death of Athena Gervais is a tragedy," the statement from Aldo Geloso, co-president of Geloso Group, reads. 

The company said it would conduct a complete overhaul of its marketing for the beverage. 

On Saturday, Geloso Groupe pulled about 60 of its bus shelter advertisements in Montreal, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay. 

A promotional video for the beverage featuring Quebec hip hop group Les Anticipateurs was also taken off YouTube.