NEWS

Family of slain Gatineau student mark grim anniversary

08/23/2012 07:35 EDT | Updated 10/23/2012 05:12 EDT
The family of Valerie Leblanc held a sombre ceremony and unveiled a monument near the spot in the woods where her body was found a year ago today.

Leblanc's body was found on Aug. 23, 2011, in a forest near CEGEP de l'Outaouais in the Hull sector of Gatineau. Police said the 18-year-old student died from severe head trauma. Her body was also found burned.

Her father said the family is still overwhelmed with grief.

"It's always bad. I miss her," said Sylvain Leblanc.

"All I hope is they catch [whoever did it] and it's over. I hope the end is there," he said.

Gatineau police have re-established a command post to collect tips from the public with regards to the one-year-old death of Valerie Leblanc.

Police returned to the CEGEP Thursday and again set up a command post there to collect information from those who may have seen anything that day which might help solve the case.

"We have investigators here who will meet whoever wants to talk to us," said Sgt. Jean-Paul Lemay with Gatineau police.

Case a priority for police

"It's not as if it's a cold case. It's still a priority for our police service."

Lemay said people have come forward since police reissued a composite sketch of a man believed to be an important witness in Leblanc's death, but they declined to say how many people have done so.

There was little activity at the command post Thursday as school is not yet in session.

But CEGEP staff, already back at the school, marked the tragic anniversary with a moment of silence.

Later in the afternoon Leblanc's family gathered to unveil a memorial.

Jacques Bouchard, Leblanc's uncle, said it's important for people to come forward if they know anything.

"I don't know why they are shy, they are scared, I don't know," said Bouchard. "But we hope people are going to come here today and talk to them."

While about 1,500 tips have come to police, there has been no arrest. Police reminded the public Wednesday there is still a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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