A heartbroken Canadian mother yesterday wept bitter tears as she clasped photos of her young daughters at a memorial service after the girls were found dead in a forest on Saturday.
Amélie Lemieux was surrounded by friends and family as she thanked people for their support and paid tribute to Norah, 11, and Romy, six, who went missing with their father on Wednesday.
Speaking at a park gazebo filled with messages, flowers and candles in Lévis, Quebec, Lemieux said: ‘My two beautiful, beloved princesses, I wanted you so much I could hardly wait for you to come into my life.
‘From the time you took your first breath, I loved you unconditionally. You are my whole life, my reason for being.
‘When I look up into the night sky you will be the stars that will guide me through my immeasurable pain. I love you madly. I love you forever.’
The girls were last seen shopping with their father, Martin Carpentier, 44, on Wednesday, but one hour later his car was found wrecked and abandoned in the Saint-Apollinaire area, southwest of Quebec City.
Amelie Lemieux, centre, is comforted by family members as she holds pictures of her two daughters, Romy and Norah Carpentier, at a memorial in Levis, Que
Amelie Lemieux clasps photographs of her daughters as she is comforted by friends and family on Monday
Authorities on Saturday discovered Norah, 11, and Romy Carpentier, six, dead in a wooded area in Saint-Apollinaire, Quebec, after three days missing
Police said they have narrowed their search for the father to a wooded area off Rang Saint-Lazare, a country road in Saint-Apollinaire, CBC reported.
Investigators said Carpentier’s vehicle was driving east on Highway 20 in Saint-Apollinaire when it skidded into a central reservation, flipped over and landed on the shoulder of the opposite side of the highway.
Authorities launched an Amber Alert on Thursday and continued the alert until Romy and Norah were found three days later. It was the longest Amber Alert in Quebec’s history.
It’s unclear the specifics of the incident, but authorities said the they are not ruling any hypothesis out, including kidnapping.
Autopsies are scheduled to determine the specific cause of the girls’ deaths, The Canadian Press reports.
Finding Carpentier is a top priority for authorities, but they said of the father that they ‘don’t know exactly what state of mind’ he’s in.
‘We ask people not to take any chances. So if they have any information or if they see him, just call 911 and we will take charge of the situation,’ authorities said.
Speaking at a park gazebo filled with messages, flowers and candles in Lévis, Quebec, Lemieux said: ‘My two beautiful, beloved princesses, I wanted you so much I could hardly wait for you to come into my life. From the time you took your first breath, I loved you unconditionally. You are my whole life, my reason for being. When I look up into the night sky you will be the stars that will guide me through my immeasurable pain. I love you madly. I love you forever.’
Amelie Lemieux, centre, is comforted by family members as she holds pictures of her two daughters, Romy and Norah Carpentier, at a memorial on Monday
Objects found on Saturday during the police search may belong to Carpentier and the two girls, authorities told CTV.
‘We found some objects yesterday, but we can find a lot of different objects in the woods, so what we have to do right now is to be sure that those objects could be related to Martin Carpentier and his two daughters,’ said Sgt. Ann Mathieu.
Carpentier’s girlfriend, Cathy Gingras, had earlier made an appeal for his return in a recorded message shared to Twitter.
‘Martin, we’re worried. We haven’t heard anything from you since the accident. We want to know if you’re okay, and the girls, Romy, Norah,’ said Gingras.
‘We want to know if they’re okay… if you’re okay. Give us some news, let us know, call your parents, whatever it is. The important thing is that you’re all alright.
‘We just want to know you’re alright.’
Earlier last week their mother, Lemieux, shared photos of the girls and made a plea on Facebook asking for help.
Authorities have deployed canine squads, drones, an equestrian squad and a helicopter in the hunt.
A manhunt has been launched for the girls’ father Martin Carpentier (pictured), 44, who vanished after the car crash on Wednesday
Around 100 residents from the Saint-Agapit, Saint-Apollinaire sector on Saturday joined police in the search for the family, but it appeared to do more harm than good.
The large amount of people overwhelmed the scene and made the K-9 squad ineffective.
‘So that’s why we ask the people, we appreciate the work you want to do for us, we appreciate your goodwill, but doing so is not a good idea to help us. It’s not helping us,’ said Matthieu.
Instead, she asked residents to stay home and call authorities if they notice anything amiss.
‘Stay home. Just look on your property. You’re the best person to know exactly if there’s something wrong on your property. If so, call us we’re going to do the verification about it,’ shes said.
Pictured: Residents in the Saint-Agapit, Saint-Apollinaire sector joined together to help look for Carpentier and the two girls
Quebec authorities have used several search methods, including anine squads, drones an equestrian squad and a helicopter (pictured)
Meanwhile, the international attention of the tragic deaths and manhunt has shocked residents who live in the small Quebec town of just over 6,000 people.
‘Seeing police everywhere, helicopters, you wouldn’t have believed it,’ said native Cedric Lambert, 23. ‘Then to know that they found the little girls here is stressful.’
His partner, Marie-Myriam Dion, added that she doesn’t feel safe with Carpentier on the loose.
‘I can’t wait for them to find him,’ said Dion, a mother-of-two. ‘I lock my doors at home as soon as I am alone.’
Gerald Rousseau, a resident of 40 years, lives about two miles from where police have started searching. He said there are a plethora of places to hide.
‘There are plenty of small chalets around there, cabins, sugar shacks, trailers,’ Rousseau told CTV.
‘It’s a good place to hide … people come down on the weekends, but there aren’t a lot of people coming down given what’s happening, so there’s often food left behind inside.’
News that authorities found the deceased children sparked an outpouring of grief from both residents and public figures.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau she he was ‘devastated’ by the turn of events.
‘An incomprehensible tragedy for any parent. My heart breaks for the family and friends of Norah and Romy – I’m sending you my deepest condolences. Know that all Canadians are keeping you in their thoughts tonight,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was ‘devastated’ by news that the young girls’ bodies had been found on Saturday
Quebec Premier Francois Legault called Norah and Romy’s deaths a ‘national tragedy’ on Twitter following the tragic news
Legault: ‘I have a special thought for Norah and Romy’s mother. For all their loved ones too. It’s the whole of Quebec crying with you today.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault called Norah and Romy’s deaths a ‘national tragedy.
‘I am overwhelmed, without words. Losing two children, the most expensive thing in life, is incomprehensible. It’s a national tragedy,’ he wrote on Twitter.
He added: ‘I have a special thought for Norah and Romy’s mother. For all their loved ones too. It’s the whole of Quebec crying with you today.’
He even searched his own property, but didn’t find any sign of Carpentier.
Carpentier was last seen wearing a grey short sleeve sweater and jeans. He is listed as being 5’10” and weighing 130lbs.
Anyone who sees Martin Carpentier is asked not to attempt to intervene and to communicate with 911.
In addition, any information that may allow him to be traced can be communicated, confidentially, to the Central Criminal Intelligence Service of the Sûreté du Quebec at 1-800-659-4264.