Family bids tearful farewell to Quebec sisters found dead following Amber Alert

Family bids tearful farewell to Quebec sisters found dead following Amber Alert

LEVIS, Que. — The family of two Quebec sisters found dead after an Amber Alert bid farewell to the young girls in an emotional funeral ceremony Monday as the mystery surrounding the fate of their father persists.

Norah and Romy Carpentier were described by their mother, Amelie Lemieux, as pure and gentle souls.

“Thank you for choosing me to be your mother, a privilege that was priceless,” Lemieux said, reading from a letter she wrote to her two little girls.

“Even if I didn’t have enough time by your side, I will continue to cherish, one by one, each memory, photo, video and continue to hear your soft voices call me ‘maman’,” Lemieux said through tears.

“I love you madly.”

The girls were remembered fondly — Romy, the clown who wanted to do it all and Norah, the ingenious artist who dreamed of being a video game designer. Each family member, beginning with Lemieux, put a rose in a vase near photos of the sisters — a symbolic gesture as both girls had “Rose” as a middle name.

The funeral in the girls’ hometown of Levis, Que., was limited to family due to COVID-19 concerns, but hundreds gathered in the complex’s parking to watch the ceremony on giant screens. Afterwards, two doves were released into the afternoon sky.

The bodies of Norah, 11, and Romy, 6, were found in the woods July 11 in St-Apollinaire, a suburb southwest of the provincial capital. Their father, Martin Carpentier, 44, who is suspected by police of abducting them, remains missing.

Marie-Pierre Genois, a friend of Lemieux’s since high school, stood in the intense noon sun, waiting to give condolences. “It’s to support her,” Genois said. “It’s a terrible ordeal, so it’s important for me to be here for her.”

Judith Gagnon also knew Lemieux and the girls. She said they’d spent time together during the Christmas holiday. “There is no answer to all of this,” Gagnon said outside the funeral complex. “It is a tragedy that we will have to live through for years, that we will have in our hearts.”

Nearby, a man chimed in: “I hope that justice will be done.”

Quebec provincial police suspended their ground search for Carpentier Saturday after a 10-day manhunt, but maintain they are determined to find him.

Police say they believe Carpentier and his daughters were involved in a car crash on the evening of July 8 in St-Apollinaire, but nobody was inside the vehicle when responders reached the scene.

Josee Masson, founder and executive director of a local organization dedicated to helping youth suffering through tragedy, presided over the funeral. The family posted a message on the funeral home’s website thanking police, emergency responders and volunteers who searched for the sisters.

To Norah and Romy, they wrote: “We will always regret not having had more than the 11 and six springtimes you were present in our lives, but the memories and love you gave us will remain etched in us forever.”

Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a well-known victims’ rights advocate in Quebec, said comforting the young girls’ mother brought back the pain he felt when his daughter, Julie, was killed in 2002. He lost his other daughter, Isabelle, in a car crash in 2005.

Boisvenu said he came to the funeral to give the family hope. Despite being robbed of that which they hold most dear, they can find their way again, the senator said.

“I just wanted to tell them yes, it’s possible to rebuild themselves, it’s possible to have dreams,” Boisvenu said.

Gilles Lehouillier, mayor of Levis, said the city plans to install a plaque honouring the sisters in a park where locals had turned a gazebo into a makeshift memorial after their deaths.

Meanwhile, a senior provincial police spokesman said Monday if Martin Carpentier is still alive, he has likely almost run out of resources. Police had intensified their search Thursday after stating the fugitive had taken items from a trailer within the search perimeter.

But Chief Insp. Guy Lapointe said four days have passed since then, and investigators believe Carpentier is ill-equipped to ensure his basic needs for an extended period.

If he is alive, police said, Carpentier’s physical appearance has likely changed, and he may be weak, distressed and unable to make rational decisions. Lapointe said it would be extremely difficult for anyone to survive in a dense forest for so long, let alone when they are the subject of an intense manhunt.

Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault also paid her respects to the family Monday. She told a news conference she has confidence in the provincial police investigation.

“There is still an investigation, steps that are being taken to find Martin Carpentier,” Guilbault said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2020.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

Quebec

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

2020 Ponoka business awards
Ponoka chamber 2020 Business Award winners

The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce 2020 Business Awards were held… Continue reading

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owner found

Father and son found miniature horse while out for a walk at JJ Collett

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ponoka FCSS’ Empty Bowls sells out

For the first time ever, Ponoka Family and Community Support Services’ (FCSS’s)… Continue reading

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Marissa Cunnington. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
NARCHC year end horse show photos and results

The Northern Alberta Reined Cow Horse Club (NARCHC) held its futurity, derby… Continue reading

Most Read