No murder suspects in death of CEGEP student
Gatineau police don't have any murder suspects in the death of a CEGEP student in Gatineau. However, they do have four suspects that could be charged with indignity to a human body and obstruction to justice.
Fear has gripped students at the CEGEP de l'Outaouais campus in Hull since a second-year student was found brutally murdered in a wooded area behind the school. Students are now asked not to travel alone.
The body of Valerie Leblanc, 18, was found beaten and badly burned near the junior college Tuesday afternoon. It's unclear if the murder was random.
Fellow students made the grisly discovery while they were out for a walk. Although they told reporters they found the body at about 1:15 p.m., they said they initially thought it was a mannequin being used in a simulation for the school's police academy.
They returned to school, and went back to the scene about two hours later. That's when they said they realized the body was real and they called police.
Leblanc is Gatineau's first homicide victim of the year. A command post remains at the scene, and police continue to look for new evidence.
Police say they interviewed 10 witnesses Tuesday, and four of those people are now suspects in relation to indignity to a human body.
"Indignity to a human body and obstructing the work of police officers concerning actions that were taken towards the body of Valerie Leblanc," said Sgt. J.P. Lemay.
Police won't identify the suspects, or give their age or gender. No charges have been laid. Police say there are still no suspects in relation to the murder.
A backpack with an evidence tag was removed from the large wooded area behind the school Thursday, and a young woman was spotted helping investigators in their search. Police expect to remain at the scene for at least one more day.
Family and friends are shocked by the brutal nature of Leblanc's death. They gathered near the school for an impromptu vigil Wednesday night, seeking comfort from one another, asking how something like this could have happened.
An autopsy on Leblanc's body continues in Montreal. Police have set up a hotline for tips. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 819-243-2346, ext. 6677.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman