Search for Quebec man wanted in connection with daughters' deaths stretches into sixth day
Provincial police ask public to come forward with information
Quebec provincial police are continuing their search for 44-year-old Martin Carpentier, who has been missing since last Wednesday and is considered a suspect in the deaths of his two daughters.
Officers are focusing Tuesday on a 50-square-kilometre area of Saint-Apollinaire, Que., southwest of Quebec City, using canine units, drones, all-terrain vehicles and a Transport Canada airplane equipped with thermal imaging.
The densely forested area is where the bodies of Norah Carpentier, 11, and her six-year-old sister, Romy, were found last weekend.
Sgt. Ann Mathieu said the evidence has led police to that location so far, but they are not ruling out the possibility that Carpentier could have fled elsewhere, or could be dead.
"If you have someone who is healthy, someone who is mobile, they can easily walk several kilometres per day," Mathieu said.
"And they can find other ways of moving around, even something as simple as a bicycle. It's not impossible."
Police have asked that everyone in the area keep their car doors locked to prevent Carpentier from attempting to drive away in one.
They are also calling on all residents to continue keeping an eye out for Carpentier and to call 911 with any information.
"Go back and look at the photo of Martin Carpentier to refresh your memory," she said.
Police canvassed Saint-Agapit, a town about five kilometres southeast of Saint-Apollinaire, Monday night after receiving a tip from a resident who saw a man running in a field.
That turned out to be a false alarm, but Mathieu said the public's help is still crucial.
Provincial police are still hoping to find Carpentier alive so he can explain the sequence of events leading up to the children's deaths.
Carpentier was last seen with his daughters in a convenience store in Lévis last Wednesday night.
An hour later, Carpentier's vehicle crashed about five kilometres west of the store, on Highway 20. Police found the car badly damaged and abandoned, with a cellphone inside.
An Amber Alert was issued for the girls on Thursday, and concluded two days later when the girls were declared dead at hospital.
Mathieu said that police still believe Carpentier was in the car with his daughters at the time of the crash, but they are looking at all possibilities.
Police confirmed that autopsies were completed on the girls but are not releasing the cause of death as it is an ongoing criminal investigation.
Heartbroken mother speaks out
On Monday, Romy and Norah's mother, Amélie Lemieux, spoke out for the first time since the girls went missing.
She wept uncontrollably, held by friends and family members, as she stood in a makeshift shrine of stuffed animals and cards that the community put together to honour the memories of her daughters.
"From your first breath, I loved you both unconditionally. You are my whole life, my reason for being," she said.
"When I look up into the night sky, you will be the stars that will guide me through my immeasurable pain. I love you madly. I love you forever."
Lemieux thanked all those who have offered her and her family support in recent days.
With files from Radio-Canada