A Quebec woman is breathing a sigh of relief after murder charges were finally laid in connection with the killing of her teenage daughter, Guylaine Potvin, 22 years ago.
Marc-Andrew Gagnon, 47, of Granby, Que., was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and aggravated sexual assault in the cold case, one day after Quebec provincial police arrested him in the cold case.
Potvin, a 19-year-old junior college student, was found dead in her apartment in Jonquiere, Que., north of Quebec City, on April 28, 2000.
Court records show he was also charged with the attempted murder and sexual assault of another woman who was violently assaulted and left for dead in Quebec City the same year. That victim’s identity is protected by a publication ban.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) arrested Grenon in Granby on Wednesday. He will remain in police custody until his case returns to court next month.
Potvin’s family also appeared by videoconference during the court appearance Thursday morning. They told Noovo Info they were surprised to hear police had made an arrest 22 years after the killing of their daughter.
“We always hoped that this day would come,” said Jeannine Caouette, Potvin’s mother, despite the difficulty she described of re-opening old wounds.
“[The Crown] would like to highlight the resilience of the victim,” said prosecutor Pierre-Alexandre Bernard.
“And as well the family of the victim, Guylaine Potvin. They have lived with the numerous daily consequences for more than 20 years.”
Bernard said there is a large volume of documents that both the prosecution and defence will have to leaf through as the case unfolds.
Grenon’s arrest is the result of an investigation carried out by Quebec’s cold case police squad – the department’s first since its staff and budget were expanded in 2018.
Provincial police announced that year they would increase the squad from five officers to nearly 30 in order to tackle hundreds of murders and suspected murders dating back to the 1960s, but as of this summer, they had yet to solve a single one.
“It was an answer that we had been waiting on for a long time,” said Bruno Cormier, one of the original officers assigned to the case, who is now retired. He says police questioned hundreds of people and took DNA samples from many.
With files from CTV Montreal’s Caroline Van Vlaardingen, Noovo Info, and The Canadian Press.