Rene Riendeau was too heartbroken to speak on Wednesday.
“Please, today, nothing to say,” a distraught Riendeau told reporters in French at his home in east end Montreal.
He and his wife had just found out their little girl is truly gone.
After 12 years, police announced the remains of Jolene Riendeau have been found – and that she was murdered.
“We do have a serious lead, we want to arrest the suspect, that’s the reason those informations were not even shared with the family,” said Sargeant Ian Lafreniere.
Police provided few details regarding where or when the remains were found.
In the little girl’s former Pointe St-Charles neighbourhood, there is sadness.
“I don’t know what to say,” said area resident Louise Brouilltte.
Jolene was last seen on April 12, 1999.
She left her home to buy a bag of chips at a nearby convenience store.
A witness saw the girl eating them outside the store.
Then, she went missing.
“I remember we printed over 800,000 posters of Jolene,” Pina Arcamone, director of the Missing Children’s Network.
What followed was one of the largest missing child searches in Quebec history.
Officers scoured the city, following up on more than 1,500 tips – including one that led them to the Lachine Canal.
In 2005, the level of the waterway was lowered to allow divers to search.
Just last year, age-enhanced photos of Jolene were released in an effort to trigger new clues.
Through it all, Jolene’s mother never gave up hope.
“I remember the contractions, I remember raising her for 10 and a half years, and she was taken away from me, and now I’m supposed to forget? It’s not going to happen,” Jolene’s mother, Delores Soucy, said in 2010.
If there’s someone who understands her pain, it’s Michel Surprenant.
His daughter Julie was also abducted in 1999, a few months after Jolene.
She’s still missing.
“It’s positive because it’s the end of the anguish, but it’s very emotional.,” Surprenant said on Wednesday.
Montreal police say they have a strong suspect on their radar and are confident an arrest will be made in the coming days.