Disappearance of Cédrika Provencher

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Cédrika Provencher
Cedrika Provencher.jpg
Born (1997-08-29)29 August 1997
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
Disappeared July 31, 2007 (aged 9)
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
Status Deceased
Remains found December 11, 2015 in Saint-Maurice

Cédrika Provencher (born 29 August 1997) was a Canadian girl from Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada, who disappeared aged 9 on . Her disappearance resulted in one of the biggest police search in Québec's history. She was declared "missing" on 31 July 2007 (but Québec media already believed that she was kidnapped) and "likely abducted" 72 hours later.[1][2] Despite the offer of a reward, her whereabouts remained unknown for more than eight years.

On 12 December 2015, Québec provincial police announced that her remains had been found in Mauricie, Québec.[3][4]

Disappearance and search[edit]

Cédrika was asked by a man to help search for a lost dog, and agreed to help. She cycled around the area, knocking on doors and asking residents if they had seen the dog. She was seen emerging from a wooded area with a friend, closely followed by a man. She was then seen on her bike in a local park and on various nearby streets. At 8:30 pm, her bicycle was found leaning against a fire hydrant on the corner of streets Chabanel and Chapais.[5][6] On 2 August 2007, it was suggested that she had been abducted and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) took over the investigation from the Trois-Rivières police service.[7][8] Hundreds of citizens assisted in the search for Cédrika, to no avail.[7] While around 60 investigators are working full-time on the case, a reward of C$80,000 is offered on 13 August in exchange of information. It was raised to C$170,000 in 2009.[9]

Between August 2007 and July 2008, various newspapers published information on various aspects of the search, but no concrete information surfaced to be able to find Cédrika or even to establish whether she was still alive.[6][10][11][12][13]

Discovery of remains[edit]

On 11 December 2015, three hunters stumbled upon a set of human remains in the woods in Saint-Maurice, a small town near Trois-Rivières close to Highway 40, about 15 km from the last place Cédrika had been seen.[14][15] On 12 December, it was confirmed that the remains were Cédrika's although police had no further information at the time and said they would need to carry out further investigations.[3][4] On 16 December, Radio-Canada revealed that investigators were still looking for a person of interest who had been seen around the area where Cédrika disappeared.[16]

Suspect[edit]

Jonathan Bettez has been considered a prime suspect since early on, but has never been indicted due to insufficient proof.

On 29 August 2016, Bettez was arrested and charged with six counts of possessing and distributing child pornography depicting children aged between 8 and 12 years of age, and several investigators working on Cédrika's case were also involved in questioning him following his arrest.[17] According to court documents filed during pre-hearing, he was the object in 2009 of an investigation technique known as "Mr. Big", so as to elicit confidences concerning Cédrika — to no avail.[18]

In the summer of 2007, Bettez owned one the 258 red Acura TSX 2004 car registered in the province, and his vehicle had chromed door handles which furthermore matches the description of a suspicious car seen at the time of the abduction. In November 2007, the SQ was said to be "certain" the car witnessed was involved in the abduction.[19] Six cars of that exact type were identified in the Trois-Rivières area and Jonathan Bettez was the only owner whose alibi could not be verified (investigators eventually met with the 250 other owners).[20] A car was seized in January 2008 but no forensic evidence could be obtained.[21] Bettez has always refused to take a polygraph test or to cooperate in any way with the police. According to crime journalist Claude Poirier, at some point he was planning to flee to Switzerland, a country which has no extradition treaty with Canada.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Il y a un coupable et il se connaît | Jean-Marc Beaudoin | Le Nouvelliste". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  2. ^ "Où est Cédrika? | Marie-Eve Lafontaine | Le Nouvelliste". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  3. ^ a b "Over 200 police on scene as Cedrika Provencher investigation continues | CTV Montreal News". montreal.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  4. ^ a b "Les ossements de Cédrika Provencher retrouvés". 
  5. ^ "Site Officiel - Fondation Cédrika Provencher". Fondation Cedrika Provencher (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  6. ^ a b "Cédrika: apprendre à vivre sans sa fille | Clément Sabourin | Actualités". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  7. ^ a b "Des méthodes policières critiquées | Clément Sabourin | Actualités". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  8. ^ "La formation des policiers était-elle adéquate?" (in French). TVA Nouvelles. 2017. 
  9. ^ "Cédrika: le meurtrier est «très nerveux en ce moment», selon Claude Poirier" (in French). Le Journal de Montréal. 
  10. ^ ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Regions -. "Voilà déjà une semaine | ICI.Radio-Canada.ca". Radio-Canada.ca (in French). Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  11. ^ "Affaire Cédrika Provencher: Découvertes insolites - Faits divers - L'Hebdo du St-Maurice". www.lhebdodustmaurice.com. Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  12. ^ "Le Matin". Archived from the original on 2011-01-19. 
  13. ^ "Cédrika Provencher: récit d'un enlèvement | Marie-Eve Lafontaine | Le Nouvelliste". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  14. ^ "Des restes humains trouvés en Mauricie". tvanouvelles.ca. 
  15. ^ "'We felt it was related to Cédrika Provencher,' says hunter who found remains of missing girl". CBC. 
  16. ^ "Man flagged in 2007 remains person of interest in Cédrika Provencher case". CBC. 
  17. ^ "Bettez remis en liberté sous une pluie d'injures | Paule Vermot-Desroches | Justice et faits divers" (in French). Retrieved 2016-09-22. 
  18. ^ "Affaire Cédrika Provencher : des documents montrent l'ampleur de la traque de Bettez" (in French). Radio-Canada. 2018-07-10. 
  19. ^ "La thèse de l'Acura rouge confirmée". Radio-Canada. 2 November 2007. 
  20. ^ "Affaire Cédrika Provencher : des documents montrent l'ampleur de la traque de Bettez" (in French). Radio-Canada. 2018-07-10. 
  21. ^ "Cédrika: le meurtrier est «très nerveux en ce moment», selon Claude Poirier" (in French). Le Journal de Montréal. 
  22. ^ "Affaire Cedrika: le suspect voulait quitter le pays, selon Claude Poirier • Actualités • 98,5 fm Montréal". www.985fm.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-22.