Quebec provincial police believe they have found the bodies of two young sisters during a search for them and their father, in what Premier Francois Legault has called a “national tragedy.”
Ann Mathieu, a police spokeswoman, said they believe the bodies discovered Saturday in St-Apollinaire, Que., belong to Norah Carpentier, 11, and her sister, Romy Carpentier, 6, who were last seen on Wednesday evening.
Mathieu said police cannot confirm the girls are dead.
“Right now, everything leads us to believe that it is the two girls, but you will understand that we are still evaluating the health of those little girls,” Mathieu told reporters Saturday afternoon.
She said an Amber Alert that was issued for the girls on Thursday has been lifted, and that police are actively searching for the girls’ father, Martin Carpentier.
Carpentier could still be in St-Apollinaire or the nearby town of St-Agapit, Que., Mathieu said.
The girls and their father are believed to have been involved in an accident Wednesday night on Highway 20 in St-Apollinaire, a suburb of Quebec City.
An Amber Alert was issued for them Thursday afternoon, and an extensive police search began in the area.
That search had resumed Saturday morning, with police deploying a helicopter, as well as canine units, ATVs and on-foot search teams, to try to locate the three people.
Bernard Ouellet, the mayor of St-Apollinaire, said learning police had found two bodies was extremely sad.
He said the tragedy touches people across the province.
“Everyone has tears in their eyes,” Ouellet said in a brief interview Saturday afternoon. “It’s not easy for anyone.”
While police did not confirm whether the girls are dead, Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that he, like all Quebecers, was “devastated” by the news.
“In particular, I’m thinking of the mother of Norah and Romy and all their loved-ones,” the premier wrote on Twitter. “All of Quebec is mourning with you today.”
A woman who said she was the girls’ mother had posted their photos on Facebook Thursday, saying “we need to find my daughters and their father.”
Mathieu said police are asking anyone who sees Carpentier to immediately contact 911.
Police say the 44-year-old was wearing a grey T-shirt and jeans when he was last seen. He is listed as being five-foot-ten and weighing 130 pounds.