Suspect in Quebec Amber Alert appears in court

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — The 41-year-old father at the heart of an Amber Alert in Quebec earlier this month was hunched over, eyes fixed to the ground as he made his first appearance in court Monday.

He never raised his eyes as he briefly appeared before a judge in Saint-Jerome, Que. after being returned to the province from an Ontario hospital where he was recovering from an alleged suicide attempt in police custody.

Defence lawyer Pierre Gauthier said his client was kept apart from other detainees on the ride to the courthouse for security reasons.

“He has the attitude that comes with what he is suspected of having done,” Gauthier told a throng of reporters at the end of the hearing.

Quebec police issued an Amber Alert for the suspect’s six-year-old boy after they discovered the body of the child’s mother earlier this month north of Montreal.

Ontario provincial police arrested the suspect 10 days ago near Renfrew, Ont., where his son was found safe in a stolen vehicle.

He was charged the following week with second-degree murder in the death of the boy’s mother, but no new charges have been added since.

The suspect was formally charged Monday after doctors deemed him fit to appear in court.

His case was put off until Oct. 31, when the remainder of the evidence is expected to be disclosed.

Prosecutor Steve Baribeau said a decision on additional charges will be taken in the coming weeks.

“We do not have full disclosure of the evidence. Before taking a position (on additional charges), we are waiting on the lab results,” Baribeau said. “We must have an overall picture of the situation.”

Police are also still investigating the disappearance and death of Yvon Lacasse, a 71-year-old man whose body was found last week 100 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The six-year-old was found by police in Lacasse’s car.

“We will take our time to look at it carefully when we have the overall picture of the evidence,” Baribeau said, noting it wasn’t a race against time. “He is currently detained.”

Quebec court Judge Claude Larochelle ordered the suspect not to communicate with about 10 people including the accused’s son, friends and family of the child’s dead mother, and friends and family of Lacasse.

Before his arrest in eastern Ontario, the accused was part of a manhunt that spanned an enormous territory. Police began searching for him Saint-Eustache and Lachute, northwest of Montreal.

The accused was allegedly spotted in Rouyn-Noranda, about 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal, and then in Maniwaki, which is about 100 kilometres north of Ottawa.

Authorities have said the nearly 24-hour long Amber Alert was the longest in Quebec history.

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