The mother of sisters Norah and Romy Carpentier still admits she can’t explain the tragedy that turned their lives upside down and rocked Quebec in July 2020. [Martin Carpentier], he was a good father,” said Amélie Lemieux on the first day of the public hearings scheduled to shed light on the circumstances of the tragedy. “I’ve been lucky enough to be with someone who’s good. »
The inquest, chaired by Assistant Medical Examiner Me Luc Malouin, aims to determine how Martin Carpentier, who is described as a loving and caring father but is also obsessed with fears of losing custody of his children, died in a car accident was able to flee the scene, on the evening of July 8, 2020, to end the days of his two daughters and commit suicide in a dense wooded area of Saint-Apollinaire.
He was aggressive, but never towards me or the kids. He was a good father to our daughters.
The mother of the two missing girls, Amélie Lemieux, spoke on the first day of the hearings. Her statement began by describing her seemingly uneventful romance with Martin Carpentier, similar to many relationships, initially happy, then slowly eroded by lack of communication and financial worries. It ended with the tragic story of a mother calling her children’s names at the edge of the forest the day after she disappeared.
Amélie Lemieux and Martin Carpentier met in 2008 while she was expecting the birth of her eldest, Norah. From the start, Martin Carpentier behaves like a loving man who is very committed to the pregnancy. She and he married in January 2010; In the same year, he officially becomes the adoptive father of Norah, whom he has loved as his own daughter since birth.
The couple’s first troubles came in 2013 during a construction strike that threatened Martin Carpentier’s livelihood. He and Amélie Lemieux are expecting the birth of Romy at the same time. Financial stress creeps into family life. Also the first misunderstandings.
“Martin was very withdrawn,” Ms. Lemieux described. I had trouble communicating with him, especially on money matters. He also had behaviors that I didn’t understand. »
For example, in the months leading up to Romy’s birth, Martin Carpentier became more distant. “He was less concerned about his stomach than when I was pregnant with Norah,” explained Amélie Lemieux. When I asked him why, he replied, “I can’t lose this.” I can’t say without a doubt that he was afraid of losing Norah, but I think it was a fear. »
The couple separated in 2015. On this occasion, Martin Carpentier insulted the mother of his children for the first time in seven years together. The latter said that other episodes of aggression had previously littered the couple’s life. For example, once he hit a table until the glass shattered. At another, he had furiously emptied the shed without explaining why. “He behaved aggressively, but never towards me or the children,” assured the mother of the two missing children. He was a good father to our daughters. »
After a stormy adjustment phase, the separation finally leads to a common basis. Every other week, each parent has custody of the children. Amélie Lemieux and Martin Carpentier exchange to manage the day-to-day life, share the expenses for the little girls, always with cordiality, according to the mother. “The relationship, she assures, was not conflicted. »
The pandemic hits 2020 and closes all construction sites. Once again, Martin Carpentier finds himself in financial turmoil and looking to make arrangements to negotiate his mortgage loan. “I told him he could stop paying me support, that I wasn’t anywhere near $280,” Amélie Lemieux said.
Despite this arrangement, the father fears losing custody of Norah. “He had lost a lot of weight,” says Amélie Lemieux. I told him to take care of himself, he lost weight. It was for Father’s Day. She had seen Martin Carpentier when he presented her with a card featuring his daughters and a gift – an apron that read, “Not all superheroes wear a cape.”
The fateful day
The mother’s testimony took a dramatic turn as the interrogation approached the fateful day of July 8, 2020. Amélie Lemieux shared the last day she spent with her daughters enjoying the summer at their parents’ swimming pool. Martin Carpentier took custody of the two sisters at the end of the day. A few hours later, he bought ice cream for his kids, took Highway 20 west, made a U-turn at Saint-Janvier-de-Joly, and then made a turn near Saint-Apollinaire at 9:20 p.m. … before passing out became forest.
At 9:40 p.m., Amélie Lemieux learned of the disappearance of her daughters. “I got hysterical, I couldn’t control myself anymore… I just wanted to know where my kids were. »
She goes to the scene of the accident that same evening. Desperate calls to relatives, incomprehension, panic fear… Despite the fog that evening, when her life changed dramatically, Amélie Lemieux remembers telling the police: “Martin, he doesn’t come from the forest. He’s afraid, he wants to be found. get it. »
“What did you do in the following hours?” ‘ Public Inquiry Attorney Me Dave Kimpton asked. “I tried to survive,” said Amélie Lemieux. She also called for an alarm to be raised and for helicopters to be deployed. “I didn’t understand why it took so long. »
The mother said she left at dawn on July 9 to look for her little girls. She took the road to Saint-Apollinaire, then stopped at a rest stop to ask a trucker to send the description of the two children over his radio transmitter before walking to the Bois-de-l’Ail street corner and calling Bois- Joly to call his children’s names at the edge of the forest. “I was so close to them,” she said through a painful sob. I did not know that…”
When she tried to find her children, officers still hadn’t raised an AMBER alert. It was around 3 p.m., almost 20 hours after the accident, when it was finally launched.
Police will find the two small remains on July 11th. The body of her father, who took his own life on the 20th.” My daughters ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, Amélie Lemieux sobbed. With the person who loved her most in the whole world. »
Do you need help ? Don’t hesitate to call the Quebec Suicide Prevention Line: 1 866 APPELLES (1 866 277-3553).