The Quebec government announced on Wednesday that a public coroner’s inquiry will be held into the death of two young sisters and their father in 2020.
Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said in a press release that she asked the chief coroner to examine the facts surrounding the deaths of Norah and Romy Carpentier as well as their father, Martin Carpentier.
The coroner’s office confirmed late Wednesday that deputy chief coroner Luc Malouin will preside over the inquiry, and said a hearing date would be announced at a later time.
Police concluded that Martin Carpentier killed 11-year-old Norah and six-year-old Romy in the woods on July 9, 2020, before taking his own life, but questions have swirled around the investigation and whether the tragedy could have been averted.
Earlier this week, the coroner who investigated the death announced that she’d asked a Montreal police investigator to look into the matter after new information came to light.
The announcement followed an episode of the Radio-Canada investigative program “Enquete,” which alleged provincial police made errors that could have cost precious time in the search for the missing girls.
Coroner Sophie Regniere released a report into the deaths in October that included recommendations for broader criteria for triggering Amber Alerts and the creation of a dedicated police unit to investigate children’s disappearances across the province.
The girls and their father vanished after their car was involved in a serious crash on Highway 20 in St-Apollinaire, Que., southwest of Quebec City, on July 8, 2020, just before 9:30 p.m.
The disappearance triggered an intense 10-day manhunt that gripped the province and especially the town of just over 6,000 people where it played out.
It was not until 3 p.m. the day after the crash, July 9, that an Amber Alert was broadcast.
The girls’ bodies were found in the woods on July 11, but the coroner concluded the deaths likely occurred on the afternoon of July 9.
Martin Carpentier took his own life in the hours after the girls’ killings, but his body was only found on July 20.
The coroner concluded that the father’s actions were triggered by an impending divorce from the mother of the two girls and he was fearful of losing access to them.
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