Suspect in Nayel murder appears in court via video link
Former Canadian soldier Adam Picard, 29, appeared in court Thursday via video link on first degree murder charges in connection with the death of Fouad Nayel.
Police confirmed to CBC News that Picard is a former member of the Canadian military now studying to be a chef at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa.
At the courthouse Thursday, Nayel's mother described the time between her son's disappearance last summer and today as "hellish". She says she met Picard on two separate occasions.
"I have to be strong for my son. I'm going to fight for him to the end...Never will my life be the same," Ms. Nayel said. She left the courtroom in tears after the appearance.
Her son Fouad Nayel, 28, was last seen June 17. At the time, his cousin Adam Mounzer told CBC News that Nayel was heading to the Petawawa area to see a friend and that he was in "good spirits."
Family and friends became concerned after he didn't show up for work and hadn't contacted anyone.
Found in wooded area
The construction worker’s car was found in September. His body was discovered in November in a wooded area near Calabogie Ont., about 100 kilometres west of Ottawa.
Police said Picard was arrested at Tenth Line station while two search warrants were executed for two homes in Orleans – one where the suspect lived.
Following an autopsy, Ontario Provincial Police and Ottawa Police determined foul play was involved in Nayel’s death.
Police sources have told CBC News Fayel died of a gunshot wound and that "drugs are in the background of this case."
Picard's lawyer speaks
Picard's lawyer, Sean May, said his client is in shock and anxious to see the evidence of how the charges came about.
"He doesn't have any information yet as to what the evidence is about so we're waiting for that and we expect next week that we'll have a better idea of what we're dealing with," May told reporters outside the court. "He hasn't said very much, again he's in shock so there's not much reaction just yet."
May also said it was his understanding that Picard served in the Canadian military in Afghanistan.
Nayel's father Amine said the family has some closure with a suspect in custody facing a first degree murder charge, but there remains another painful journey of watching the case wind its way through the courts.
"In a way it's nice, there's a little closure, but it's not, because we know it's going to be a long, long process," Amine Nayel said. "We already went through seven months of hell, so this, it's like the start of another hell."