One year after deaths of 2 Quebec girls, some question whether Amber Alert was sent too late

·3 min read
Romy, 6, (left) and Norah Carpentier, 11, (right) were found dead last July along with their father, Martin Carpentier. (Submitted by Amber Alerte Québec - image credit)
Romy, 6, (left) and Norah Carpentier, 11, (right) were found dead last July along with their father, Martin Carpentier. (Submitted by Amber Alerte Québec - image credit)

Sources close to the investigation into the deaths of Romy and Norah Carpentier have told Radio-Canada they think the girls might have had a chance if police had triggered an Amber Alert earlier.

The girls, aged 6 and 11, were killed by their father, Martin Carpentier, in July 2020. He then took his own life.

Originally, Quebec provincial police (SQ) had said that it would have made no difference triggering the Amber Alert earlier, because they determined the girls had already been killed within the first 12 hours of their abduction.

Carpentier and his daughters were last seen alive on July 8, and their car was found wrecked later that evening near Saint-Apollinaire, Que.

At the time, the Sûreté du Québec said that they had no reason to suspect Carpentier would harm his children. The police force said this led to a delay in sending out an Amber Alert.

The Amber Alert was eventually sent out at 3 p.m. on July 9, about 24 hours after the last sighting of them.

The bodies of the girls were found in the woods two days later. Carpentier's body was found on July 20, the same day as his daughters' funerals.

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

"By sunrise, last July 9, the damage was done," said Guy Lapointe, during a news conference on July 22, 2020. "It all happened in the first 12 hours."

At the time, Lapointe was the head of communications for the SQ. He has since gone on to work for the Independent Bureau of Investigations.

"Everything that could have been done was done," said Lapointe at the time. "Especially now that we know the speed at which things played out."

Questioning the timeline

Over the last few months, several sources and family members have contacted Radio-Canada to express their surprise at this assertion by police.

Half a dozen sources who participated in the operation on the ground or in the investigation have suggested the girls may have been killed 18 hours after the car crash.

This would mean they possibly died in the afternoon on July 9, practically the exact time the alert was sent out.

Confidential sources said some evidence at the crime scene suggested Carpentier was preparing to spend a second night in the woods with his children before their death.

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

Even though the SQ asserted that sending out the Amber Alert warning earlier would not have made a difference, the girls' mother, Amélie Lemieux, feels otherwise.

In an interview with Radio-Canada in November, Lemieux wondered why more wasn't done the first night of their disappearance.

"Why didn't they send the Amber Alert sooner? What would it have cost them to do it before?"

Coroner preparing report

On the day following the SQ press conference, the Quebec coroner's office sent out a statement clarifying that it was the job of the coroner to determine a timeline of events and establish a time of death for the three people.

A full report from the coroner is expected to be made public in the fall.

The SQ refused to comment on the information reported by Radio-Canada while the coroner's investigation is ongoing.

Lapointe also refused a request for an interview, saying only that everything he said as a spokesman during the news conference was approved in advance by the senior management of the SQ.

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