A school board in suburban Montreal is seeking to calm parents after reports that convicted killer Karla Homolka had moved into their community and is sending her children to a local elementary school, about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Montreal.
The chairman of the school board all but confirmed that Ms. Homolka's children were attending Centennial Park School in Châteauguay.
"I've been told that there are two children at Centennial Park School," David D'Aoust, chairman of the New Frontiers School Board, said in an interview on Tuesday. "Every indication leads us to believe they are Karla Homolka's children."
The children are in their second year at the school, said Mr. D'Aoust, who has been briefed on the matter by the board's director-general.
Ms. Homolka was released from a Quebec jail in 2005 after serving 12 years for the gruesome sex slayings of Ontario teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. She has long maintained ties to the province. She married her lawyer's brother, Thierry Bordelais, and at least one of her children was born in a hospital in Montreal.
Going by the name Leanne Bordelais, she moved with her family to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, but was apparently drawn back to Quebec. In 2014, during the murder and dismemberment trial of Luka Rocco Magnotta in Montreal, Ms. Homolka's sister testified that her sibling had returned to the province.
Still, media reports suggesting one of Canada's most notorious criminals may have quietly moved to the South Shore suburb of Châteauguay appear to have caught some parents by surprise. Mr. D'Aoust said some were upset, leading the school board to issue a statement on Tuesday seeking to reassure them. The board also said it was in contact with local police.
"Our community is dealing with a difficult situation and many of you have questions and concerns," the board said in a statement. "Please be assured that your children are safe when they are at school."
The board noted that all children are required by law to attend school. It may not have been aware of a possible link to Ms. Homolka, the ex-wife and accomplice of serial sex predator Paul Bernardo. Mr. D'Aoust said Ms. Homolka's name did not appear in school records and it is not clear the name Bordelais appeared either.
Parents who work or volunteer at the school have to submit to a criminal background check, although Mr. D'Aoust said he did not know whether Ms. Homolka was a volunteer. "I would assume not," he said.
Mr. D'Aoust said a main concern was the safety of the children. In addition to two children in elementary school, a third was in pre-kindergarten, he said.
"Yes, there are three children, and their safety has to be protected at this time. These are innocent children who are receiving educational services from us," he said. Like many English-language school boards in Quebec, New Frontiers is struggling to maintain enrolment. "We are very happy to receive them," Mr. D'Aoust said.
Police in Châteauguay would not confirm the presence of Ms. Homolka in the community. "[Our] mission is to promote peace, order and quality of life of all citizens and visitors on our territory, while respecting the Quebec and Canadian charters of rights and freedoms," police said in a statement.