A year of unanswered questions about the deaths of Bernard and Rose-Marie Saulnier
RCMP say investigation into double homicide of Dieppe couple continues
When Ted Gaudet drives along Amirault Street in Dieppe, he looks at the squat off-white bungalow with pointed front windows and wonders — what happened?
It will be one year ago on Monday that the bodies of Bernard Saulnier, 78, and his wife, Rose-Marie Saulnier, 74, were found inside the house they owned for decades.
Police would later say the Saulniers were killed — victims of homicide.
"There was a lot of concern about what the circumstances were and was there any other threats within the neighbourhood," Gaudet, a Dieppe councillor, said in an interview earlier this month.
Police say they don't believe the deaths were random.
Gaudet's safety concerns were somewhat eased by the implication from police that the killings were targeted, but unanswered questions remain.
"Most people are now, I guess, concerned about the fact that they haven't found the people who have done this, they wonder as to where the investigation is, if they have leads," Gaudet said.
RCMP have said little over the last year.
"The New Brunswick major crime unit is continuing to investigate the double homicide of 78-year-old Bernard Saulnier and 74-year-old Rose-Marie Saulnier," Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick RCMP, said in an interview this week, echoing statements RCMP have issued over the past year.
Rose-Marie remembered as generous, kind
Paulette Thériault, a Moncton city councillor, remains shocked by the couple's deaths. She said she became friends with Rose-Marie after meeting her in the '90s through Rose-Marie's work as a nutritionist, herbalist and naturotherapist at a health food store.
"She was extremely generous," Thériault said. "She just knew how to make you feel not only welcomed, but made you feel as if you were very, very important to her."
Rose-Marie was born in Memramcook East but lived most of her life in Dieppe and had a degree in nursing, her obituary said. She also held a bachelor degree in applied science in nutrition and owned Natural Choice Health Centre.
"None of us know how much time we have left on this Earth," Rose-Marie Saulnier's obituary said. "What is left in the end are your actions, the memories you leave behind and how you made people feel. 'Big Mama' always saw the best in people.
"She has touched a lot of lives throughout the years."
Thériault recalled Rose-Marie's store would be busy, but she'd always make time to talk. Thériault would leave the shop knowing all about Rose-Marie's holidays, what she liked to eat and other parts of her life.
Thériault remembers Bernard Saulnier being at Sequoia Dieppe, where Rose-Marie worked for her final five years, after he retired.
"He was one of those gentlemen that would say, 'Oh, I tried that green stuff on the shelf, it's really good.' He had a sense of humour and a very nice person."
Bernard was a past president of Acadia Electric and was involved with the Dieppe Rotary Club and a New Brunswick construction association, according to his obituary.
Bernard was "a very generous person in helping various people in career choices and business success," his obituary states.
The couple is survived by two sons, Luc and Sylvio, several siblings and extended family members. Family members did not respond to messages requesting comment.
Thériault hopes those who knew the couple are able to get answers and closure.
'Disturbing' not knowing
"I find that very, very disturbing to know that someone who was a good citizen, somebody who cared, somebody who gave a lot to the community and who has passed away under these conditions and we have no one who knows what actually happened," Thériault said.
"That is very, very disturbing."
Rogers-Marsh said multiple investigators are still working on the case.
"We can certainly appreciate if there is public concern, this is certainly a very serious incident - two people were victims of homicide," Rogers-Marsh said.
"Our investigators are working, and have been working, diligently on this file. We're working to identify the person or people that were involved and we're continuing to ask the public for their assistance."
Asked if that statement means police don't have a suspect, Rogers-Marsh said, "that wouldn't be information I'd be able to confirm."
While RCMP issued news releases in the early months of the investigation with photos or descriptions of vehicles, Rogers-Marsh says police have been able to talk to those people and are no longer looking for them. She wouldn't say if they are connected to the case.
In December, police carried out a ground search in Moncton's west end neighbourhood for potential evidence related to the case. Officers used police dogs and metal detectors to comb the shores of Jones Lake. Police haven't said if they found anything during the search.
Family could be at 'significant risk of harm'
There have been indications of a risk to the couple's family.
In January, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jean-Paul Ouellette sealed records related to the couple's estate. The documents are normally publicly available. A court case registry names Luc and Sylvio Saulnier as beneficiaries of the estates.
The judge said Luc Saulnier, in a written affidavit in support of sealing the files, laid out other facts "that could be of concern and/or put at risk the security of the family."
"Considering who could benefit from the estate, the circumstances of the deceased, the ongoing criminal investigation, the absence of information about the motives and identities of the murder or murderers, publication of information could put both the beneficiaries and their family at significant risk of harm of their lives by unsavoury members of the public who could become aware of such inheritance," Ouellette wrote in his decision on sealing the documents.
Sylvio Saulnier listed his parents' home as his mailing address on Service New Brunswick property records.
He owned a house on Dominion Street in Moncton that was raided Aug. 28 last year by police targeting an alleged drug-trafficking operation in the Moncton, Fredericton and Woodstock areas.
Rogers-Marsh wouldn't say if police have determined there is a connection between the raids and the couple's deaths 10 days later.
Sylvio Saulnier no longer owns the Dominion Street property.