Diane Gregoire, Missing Quebec Woman: Remains Found In Wooded Area Of Coteau-Du-Lac
MONTREAL - Skeletal remains found in a densely wooded area in Quebec last week are those of a woman who mysteriously disappeared nearly four years ago, police said Tuesday.
The last time anyone saw Diane Gregoire, 51, was on the last day of January 2008.
Some 46 months later, provincial police confirmed that her remains were found almost 80 kilometres from the suburban parking lot southeast of Montreal that was her last known location.
The provincial force announced it has taken over the investigation but would not divulge much information.
Gregoire's remains were found on Nov. 21 by someone in a heavily forested area along Highway 20 in Coteau-du-Lac, not far from the Ontario border.
There are no suspects and no word of arrests, but Lt. Guy Lapointe said he hopes the discovery will provide some closure to Gregoire's family.
He also said the homicide investigation, which until Tuesday had been handled by a suburban police force near Montreal, is moving forward.
"It's definitely not going back to square one, we're going to build on what we have so far," Lapointe said.
"We're hoping the crime scene will help us find some new evidence, clues that will speed up the investigation and we're confident to eventually apprehend Madame Gregoire's killer."
Gregoire, a bank teller who had been on sick leave, vanished under very mysterious circumstances.
Police have said her husband, Paul Laplante, was the last person to see her before she disappeared.
Laplante, a former mayor in the couple's hometown of St-Liboire, told police he left Gregoire in the car and went inside to have breakfast.
He said she never joined him in the shopping centre as agreed. Police were never able to say Gregoire had even been at the mall.
In the months that followed, volunteers searched different areas for signs of the missing woman, last seen wearing a bright yellow Kanuk jacket.
Last September, police in Longueuil, Que., said they were looking at the disappearance as a homicide.
In late September, Elizabeth Laplante, Gregoire's daughter, held a news conference and told reporters she and her brother Francis were firmly behind the police probe.
A tip sent investigators to search a pig farm in rural Quebec and they paid particular attention to an incinerator on site.
Teams of investigators went over the St-Valerien-de-Milton farm manually. Police said they found important items but kept the discoveries under wraps.
The searches at the farm ended earlier this month. Police found the body nearly 150 kilometres away from where they'd been looking.
Authorities say they'll discuss the pig farm searches with prosecutors to determine the next moves.
"An investigation of this magnitude, you can't leave any stone unturned," Lapointe said.