PIEDMONT, Que. – A small municipality in Quebec was shaken Sunday by the tragic deaths of two young children in what police said appears to be a double-murder-attempted-suicide.
“We are upset, saddened by this situation,” Piedmont mayor Clement Cartier told the French-language news channel LCN.
“We’re shocked. We didn’t know what to do. The only thing we can do is offer the sincere condolences to the family.”
Officials at the St-Jerome health and social service centre confirmed that the parents of the two children killed were both doctors at the hospital.
The father, a cardiologist, is a possible suspect in the death of his two children, a spokesperson for the Quebec provincial police said.
“This tragic event has shaken the medical community,” hospital director-general Francois Therrien told a news conference Sunday.
“The colleagues of the two are shattered by this troubling news. No one could have foreseen this event.”
The father was found in the family home late Saturday morning with the bodies of his two children, who police identified as Anne-Sophie Turcotte, 3, and Olivier Turcotte, 5.
Local media, citing unnamed sources, identified the man as Guy Turcotte, but police wouldn’t confirm the man’s name.
Police said he had overdosed on medication and is in stable condition at a Montreal hospital. They contacted the children’s mother, who was skiing in the Saguenay area about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.
The husband and wife had both been working the St-Jerome hospital since 2003, according to Therrien, who said the man was well-liked and known for his professionalism and work ethic.
“He was at work on Friday. This is a human tragedy, Therrien said.”
Therrien confirmed that colleagues were aware of relationship difficulties within the couple.
The Riviere-du-Nord intermunicipal police discovered the crime scene in the green-and-white cottage in this rural community of some 2,380 residents, about 60 km northwest of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains.
“They found the two bodies, the three-year-old girl and the five-year-old boy in the house as well as the father, a 36-year-old man, who was alive but needed medical attention,” Quebec provincial police spokesman Gregory Gomez del Prado said.
“Why they were called, the circumstances regarding the call or why they were in the house, that will be determined by the investigation.”
Investigators were still questioning neighbours and the immediate family on Sunday, and will question the father when his doctors give the green light.
“We’re still in the investigation,” said Gomez del Prado.
“There was a crime scene analysis in the house that was done to determine the sequence of events and to determine the motive.”
Autopsies on the bodies of the siblings were expected to take place in Montreal tomorrow or Tuesday to determine the cause of death.