NEWS
06/23/2011 01:06 EDT | Updated 08/23/2011 05:12 EDT

Man Arrested For 1995 Laval Murder After DNA Test

CBC

CBC -- 37-year-old Montreal man, Eric Daudelin, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement in the death of a young girl 16 years ago in Laval, Que.

Joleil Campeau, 9, was last seen alive on her way to a friend's house one street away from her home in Laval's Auteuil district on June 12, 1995. She was found dead in a swampy wooded area near her home four days after her mother reported her missing when she didn't arrive at her friend's house.

Police said Daudelin, who has a history of sexual offences, was arrested in Montreal around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Daudelin was arraigned on the charges Thursday at the Laval courthouse in front of members of the Campeau family.

Although the court appearance lasted mere minutes, a family member swore and yelled at the accused, who remained impassive.

The case went cold for several years, despite the fact that DNA samples were found at the scene. New technology and the creation of a cold case unit prompted Laval police to reopen the case in April 2005, along with the investigation into two other killings.

"With the scientific techniques that evolved since [1995], new equipment permitted us to redo those tests and identify and arrest this 37-year-old man for the murder of Joleil Campeau," said Laval police Const. Nathalie Lorrain, who added that the investigation was led by Laval police and the unsolved crimes division of the Sûreté du Québec.

The other two killings reopened in 2005, that of Marie-Eve Larivière, 12, who was sexually assaulted and strangled in 1992, and Annie Brissette, 29, who was beaten to death in 1995, remain unsolved. Police have ruled out the suspect arrested for the death of Campeau because he was behind bars at the time of the other two deaths.

Joleil's uncle, Gérald Senecal, said it was a difficult day, but he's relieved to hear that an arrest had been made.

Claude Blanchette lived next door to the Campeau family at the time and participated in the ground search when the girl was missing.

He told CBC reporter Lauren McCallum that people in the neighbourhood are relieved, and that the arrest brings a sense of closure.

Daudelin will be back in court Sept. 14 to enter a plea.