47-year-old man expected to appear in court Thursday
The Canadian Press · Posted: Oct 12, 2022 12:52 PM
The Quebec provincial police’s four-year-old expanded cold case squad logged its first victory on Thursday after a man was formally charged in a 22-year-old murder and a separate, violent sexual assault.
Marc-André Grenon, 47, is facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with two separate cases against female students dating back to 2000.
Grenon appeared by videoconference in Chicoutimi, Que., about 215 kilometres north of Quebec City, to be charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in connection with the murder of Guylaine Potvin, a 19-year-old junior college student found dead in her apartment in Jonquiere, in April 2000.
Crown prosecutor Pierre-Alexandre Bernard said Grenon, of Granby, Que., east of Montreal, was also charged with the attempted murder and sexual assault of another woman who was violently assaulted and left for dead in Quebec City just months later.
A publication ban protects the identity of the victim, who survived the assault.
Quebec provincial police confirmed Thursday that Grenon’s arrest is the first since the force’s cold case squad was beefed up in 2018, when the Sûreté du Québec announced it was expanding the squad from five officers to nearly 30.
The goal was to tackle hundreds of murders and suspected murders dating back to the 1960s, but as of this summer they had yet to solve a single one.
It was only 22 years later, thanks to advancements in forensic biology, that investigators could confirm the DNA of the attacker in these two cases was the same. On Wednesday, Potvin’s case summary on the cold case website was updated to add the word “resolved.”
In a statement on Wednesday, provincial police praised the work of investigators in the cold case division and the forensic science laboratory and “the innovative methods used today in forensic biology” that allowed for an arrest.
They did not provide details, however, on which techniques were used
Grenon will remain in custody until his bail hearing on Nov. 21.
The arrest of Potvin’s alleged killer came as a surprise to those who knew her. She lived with two female roommates, also students, who were not home when the killing took place inside their Panet Street residence.
Potvin’s former classmate, Myriam Blais, says she barricaded herself in her nearby apartment days after Potvin’s death because she was scared.
“When I heard the news [of the arrest], I was relieved,” she said. “My biggest fear was that the person died and would have taken that secret to their grave.”
Bruno Cormier, a retired police officer who participated in the initial investigation, says he’s delighted by the news, but he can’t help but think of Potvin’s family.
“I know those people were greatly affected,” he said.
A former spokesperson for Saguenay police, Cormier says he kept a photo of Potvin in his wallet.
“I’m also thinking of the second victim who was left for dead in her apartment,” he said. “Those are all images that come back to me when I hear the news.”
with files from Jennifer Yoon and Radio-Canada’s Catherine Paradis and Chantale Desbiens