SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — Quebec provincial police continue to search for the father of two young girls whose bodies are believed to have been discovered in a wooded area of a Quebec City suburb.
Ann Mathieu, a police spokeswoman, said police believe the bodies found in St-Apollinaire, Que., on Saturday afternoon belong to Norah Carpentier, 11, and her sister, Romy Carpentier, 6, who were last seen on Wednesday evening.
Mathieu said police could not confirm the girls’ condition, or whether they were still alive.
The bodies were “inanimate” when they were discovered, Mathieu said in an interview Saturday afternoon.
“At this moment, I cannot tell you more than that,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Mathieu told reporters that an Amber Alert issued Thursday for the girls, who are from Levis, Que., was lifted.
The girls and their father, Martin Carpentier, are believed to have been involved in a car crash Wednesday night on Highway 20 in St-Apollinaire.
“The priority at this moment for the police officers and the volunteers here is to find Martin Carpentier. So that’s why we’re asking the population to be really alert,” she said, adding that police believe he could be in St-Apollinaire or the nearby town of St-Agapit, Que.
An Amber Alert was issued for the girls Thursday afternoon, and an extensive police search began in the area.
That search had resumed Saturday morning, with police deploying a helicopter, as well as canine units, ATVs and on-foot search teams, to try to locate the three people.
Bernard Ouellet, the mayor of St-Apollinaire, said learning police had found two bodies was extremely sad.
He said the tragedy touches people across the province.
“Everyone has tears in their eyes,” Ouellet said in a brief interview Saturday afternoon. “It’s not easy for anyone.”
Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that he, like all Quebecers, was “devastated” by the news.
“In particular, I’m thinking of the mother of Norah and Romy — and all their loved-ones,” the premier wrote on Twitter. “All of Quebec is mourning with you today.”
Carpentier’s current partner, Cathy Gingras, pleaded with him to contact his family on Friday.
“Martin, we’re worried. We haven’t heard from you since the accident. We’re wondering if you’re OK, the girls, Romy, Norah,” said Gingras in a video shared on police social media accounts.
“Give us some news, give us a sign, call your parents, anything. What’s important is that you’re OK, we don’t care about anything else. We just want to know you’re OK.”
Mathieu said police are asking anyone who sees Carpentier to immediately contact 911.
Police say the 44-year-old was wearing a grey T-shirt and jeans when he was last seen. He is listed as being five-foot-ten and weighing 130 pounds.