The father of the 18-year-old woman stabbed to death yesterday in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., says his daughter was escorted by a police officer when she went to collect her things from the apartment she'd shared until recently with her ex-boyfriend.
Daphné Huard-Boudreault died on the scene. Anthony Pratte-Lops, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.
Quebec's independent police investigation unit (BEI) has been called in to determine how police handled the case.
In an interview with Radio-Canada, the dead woman's father, Éric Boudreault, said a female police officer had accompanied his daughter and her stepmother to the apartment early Wednesday afternoon, to supervise while the young woman collected her possessions.
He said it was his understanding that his daughter had gone just ahead of the other women, and she was killed as soon as she stepped foot into the apartment.
Boudreault said it happened so fast, by the time his wife entered the apartment, the police officer had his daughter's assailant on the ground and was handcuffing him.
Neither the BEI, the Richelieu–Saint-Laurent intermunicipal police force nor Quebec provincial police have commented on the father's version of events. Provincial police, however, have confirmed that Daphné Huard-Boudreault died of stab wounds.
The young woman had just recently ended a long-term relationship with her former boyfriend, and he was refusing to accept that, Éric Boudreault said.
"For the past month, she's been trying to break up with him, but he had threatened to kill himself," he told Radio-Canada.
Asked for police protection
Just hours before her death, the teen had asked local police for protection from her former partner, according to her friend and boss, Shannon Meilleur.
Meilleur, the manager at the Dépanneur Beau-Soir in Otterburn Park where Huard-Boudreault worked, said the young woman found her ex-boyfriend waiting inside her car Wednesday morning when she went to dust the snow off the vehicle to drive it to work.
Meilleur said Huard-Boudreault arrived at the convenience store with the man still in her car, who was in such a rage that a co-worker prevented the man from coming into the store, and a frightened Huard-Boudreault called the local police.
Meilleur said police came to the dépanneur and spoke to the ex-boyfriend outside before concluding there wasn't anything they could do to help her.
She said the officers then called the man a cab.
Meilleur said that Huard-Boudreault was frightened and frustrated, asking her co-workers whether her ex would have to kill her for police to do something.
By that point, Meilleur said, the ex-boyfriend had stolen Huard-Boudreault's cellphone and had been messaging all her friends that she needed to be at their apartment at 1 p.m., she said.
Meilleur said that although her friend was clearly scared, she was determined to collect her things and check on her pets left behind in the apartment she had shared with her ex.
"I asked her before she left, 'Daphné, are you going to get your things alone?' And she said she was going with her stepmother. That was it," Meilleur told CBC's Daybreak.
Role of police to be examined
Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said Thursday his thoughts were with the family of the deceased.
"I have two daughters at home who are the same age," Coiteux said. "I can well understand how the parents, friends and family of the victim are feeling."
The Sûreté du Québec has the "necessary resources and expertise" to investigate the murder, he said.
However, given the questions raised in the media about how police had handled the case, "it's important, I think, that the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes [independent police investigation unit] also examine what happened from the point of view of the role of the police."
"We are in the process of improving our training," Coiteux told CBC News, when asked about how police handle violence against women.
The BEI said in a news release Thursday it has assigned five investigators to the case, and it invited witnesses to contact the unit through its website.