Higgins went missing just after midnight on July 7, while she was walking home from a friend's house. Three days later, on July 10, police said that some of Higgins's remains were found in Hinchinbrooke in the Montérégie, about 70 kilometres away from her home in the Montreal neighbourhood of LaSalle.
Fontanelli, Higgins's 22-year-old fiancé, was arrested by police on July 13.
According to Radio-Canada, it was on July 14, the day he was formally charged in court, that Fontanelli led investigators to the municipality of Très-Saint-Sacrement, which is situated about 70 kilometres southwest of Montreal and about 20 kilometres from Hinchinbrooke.
Witnesses said that provincial police officers carried out a search in the area with the help of a boat and helicopter and officers pulled at least one bag out of the Châteauguay River that contained Higgins's body parts.
The Sûreté du Québec refused to confirm these details.
Fontanelli was formally charged Tuesday in a Montreal courtroom with first-degree murder and committing an indignity to a body.
He did not enter a plea and is scheduled to appear again in court on Aug. 17.
At the time of his arrest, Fontanelli was serving a two-year suspended sentence for charges he pleaded guilty to in 2013 in an unrelated case.
Fontanelli and Higgins have two children, a four-year-old girl and an 11-week-old son.
Higgins's funeral will take place on Saturday in Montreal.