New documentary will explore details of 1999 Julie Surprenant cold case

Ever since Julie Surprenant disappeared from Terrebonne, Que. in 1999, her family has been anxious to know exactly what happened to her.

While Surprenant, 16 at the time of her disappearance, is presumed to have been murdered, police never found her body or made a conviction.

Now Quebec documentary filmmaker Stephan Parent is trying to cover new ground in the investigation, following up on details of the case he hopes will lead to a discovery.

The film will look back at the 2012 coroner's inquest that concluded Surprenant was likely murdered, and that her neighbour — convicted sex offender Richard Bouillon, was likely involved.

According to the report, Bouillon had made a deathbed confession to nurses while in hospital in 2006, saying he had murdered Surprenant, and dumped her body in the Mille Îles​ River. But police divers never found a trace.

Parent is known for his previous documentary on unsolved kidnappings called Novembre 84. He had started another film about the disappearance of Cedrika Provencher, but abandoned the project after Cedrika's father opposed it.

Parent said he's looking into the possibility of there being a burial site on the South Shore — information he said he garnered from an inmate who served time with Bouillon before he died.

Parent said police are aware of this report, but he's not sure whether any searches were done in the area described by Bouillon's confidante.

He's hoping that by conducting interviews and putting pressure on the police, new information might come to light.

"I went door-to-door in Terrebonne and I've received calls from people who may have seen something," he said. 

Provincial police declined to comment on this project as of Sunday, though a spokesperson did confirm the case remains open. 

The film will be released next year, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Surprenant's disappearance.


Her father, Michel Surprenant, repeated calls during a news conference Sunday that the sex offender registry be made more accessible to local police and to the public.

"If the information is available for everybody, we are going to save lives," he said, adding that perhaps what happened to his daughter could have been prevented if the registry had been public knowledge.

A spokesperson for Quebec's public security minister told CBC that the Coalition Avenir Québec promised to make this change during the election campaign and is currently studying its options.

With files from CBC's Ainslie MacLellan.