Canada

Quebec couple's suicide pact led to deaths of father, 3 children: police

A suicide pact between a Quebec couple resulted in the deaths of the father and three children, police alleged on Saturday, as relatives suggested financial strain on the couple was a factor in the tragedy.

Enough evidence to pursue 1st-degree murder charges against mother, police spokesman says

A suicide pact between a Quebec couple resulted in the deaths of the father and three children, police alleged on Saturday, as relatives suggested financial strain on the couple was a factor in the tragedy.

The body of Marc Laliberte, seen here in this undated photo, was found, along with the bodies of his three children, in his family's home in the Saguenay. ((CBC))
Quebec provincial police spokesperson Sgt. Richard Gagné alleged Marc Laliberté and his wife Kathy Gauthier planned to commit suicide after killing their three children, aged 12 and under.

Gagné added there is enough evidence to pursue first-degree murder charges against Gauthier, 36, for the children's slayings, but did not give further details.

He said police were planning to lay charges on Monday.

The bodies of Laliberte, 46; Joelle Laliberté, 12; Marc-Ange Laliberté, seven; and Louis-Philippe Laliberté, four, were found by police early Friday in a bungalow in the Saguenay borough of Chicoutimi, about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.

Quebec provincial police Sgt. Richard Gagné speaks to CBC News on Saturday. ((CBC))
Police were dispatched after receiving a 911 call from the mother. She was taken to hospital in Saguenay, where she remains in the intensive care unit undergoing treatment for severe blood loss.

"She was taken there with slash wounds up her arms, we're told," CBC reporter Amanda Margison said. "We don't know how Marc Laliberte, her husband, died."

Police said there were no signs of violence on the children's bodies, leading to speculation they may have been suffocated or poisoned, Margison reported.

Recently bought home

The godparents of Gauthier said she had been working at a shopping mall in Chicoutimi, but just before Christmas she lost her job.

Her husband had also lost his job as a real estate agent in recent months, and the couple had recently purchased their home.

"The family is wondering if financial strain may have contributed to this," Margison said.

Neighbours said the family had moved into the home about six months ago.

Police have not publicly speculated on a possible motive for the deaths. They said they might be able to interview the mother on Saturday.

Autopsies on the father and children are expected early next week.