Tw o face first-de­gree mur­der charges in girl’s slay­ing

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - MOR­GAN LOWRIE

Two men are fac­ing first-de­gree mur­der charges in the slay­ing of a 19-year-old Que­bec woman whose death may be linked to the dis­cov­ery of two more bod­ies, the Sûreté du Québec said Fri­day.

René Kè­gle, 38, and Fran­cis Mar­tel, 31 — both from Que­bec’s Mauricie re­gion — ap­peared in court in Trois-Riv­ières late Fri­day in con­nec­tion with the killing of Ophélie Martin-Cyr.

In ad­di­tion to the two first­de­gree mur­der charges, Kè­gle is charged with at­tempted mur­der of a 21-year-old woman who es­caped from a mov­ing car early Wed­nes­day.

Po­lice say the 21-year-old was a friend of Martin-Cyr, and she was the one who first alerted author­i­ties to Martin-Cyr’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

A farmer found Martin-Cyr’s body a few hours later in a field in Ya­machiche near Trois-Riv­ières, about half­way be­tween Mon­treal and Que­bec City.

The body bore marks of vi­o­lence and the death was later de­ter­mined to be a homi­cide.

In a dra­matic twist, SQ spokes­woman Éloïse Cos­sette said Fri­day that in­ves­ti­ga­tors believe the case is con­nected to the dis­cov­ery the same day of a burnt-out SUV 35 kilo­me­tres away. The ve­hi­cle was later found to con­tain two charred bod­ies.

“There are cer­tain el­e­ments that al­low us to believe that it could be linked, this ve­hi­cle, to the mur­der in Ya­machiche,” Cos­sette said in a phone in­ter­view.

Cos­sette said it’s im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine the age or sex of the badly burned vic­tims, and she did not elab­o­rate on how the two events might be con­nected.

She said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.

While po­lice were giv­ing few de­tails about the mur­der, a close friend of the vic­tim said she and some other friends had be­come wor­ried about some of the peo­ple in Martin-Cyr’s ex­tended cir­cle.

Shan­nie Géli­nas re­mem­bers Martin-Cyr as a kind and open­hearted per­son who al­ways wanted to help her friends.

Martin-Cyr was study­ing to be­come a para­le­gal in or­der to give her­self a bet­ter fu­ture, Géli­nas said.

“They took away the chance of a kid — be­cause at 19 we’re still kids,” she said.

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