On Sunday, all of Quebec will remember Cédrica Provencher, who was kidnapped during a simple bike ride in Trois-Rivières 15 years ago. But for those close to him, this 15th anniversary evokes painful memories that even today leave more questions than answers.
Fifteen years after Cedrica Provencher’s kidnapping, her family and friends are still reeling. “All the good this kid can do around her, people will miss it. I feel like that,” lamented Cedrica’s grandfather, Henry Provencher, in a shaken voice, determined to endure his pain to make a difference.
He claims to have turned a negative into a positive to help other families in a similar situation. That is why he made it his struggle. “If there’s a way to prevent other Cédrikas from being there, I tell myself I’ll do everything in my power to get there,” Mr. Provencher assured.
As for Cedrica’s friends, they haven’t forgotten that famous July day fifteen years ago. After stress, fear and nightmares, today one of Cedrica’s friends, Claude Lafreniere, lives in despair. “The fact of not knowing. The fact that this guy is still running,” he admitted.
Without a perpetrator behind bars, Cedrica’s relatives have no answers and hope to one day know the outcome of this story. “I hope it makes an impact [celui qui a fait ça] And I hope he has that on his conscience,” said Mr Lafreniere.
Stuffed animals are still around the fence where Cedrica’s bones were found, proof that society still hasn’t forgotten him.
Besides, many will remember the girl on the 15th anniversary of her abduction on Sunday. Claude Lafreniere, who keeps nice pictures of his childhood friend.
“In the evening, she made calls. She almost looked like a receptionist […] Finally, we all gathered at the park. She was the person who brought us so close and even after she disappeared she faked people,” he testified.
Fifteen years have passed and a lot has changed on Earth since Cedrica’s abduction in 2007. Her disappearance particularly affected the working methods of the police force, which continue to evolve today. People involved in searches for missing persons are now better trained and more qualified.
“A special committee has been formed to train the police force on how to respond when children are kidnapped. What’s important is that we learn from it,” said Pina Archamon, Director General of the Missing Children’s Network.
Crime prevention still has a long way to go. This prompts Mr. Provencher, Cedrica’s grandfather, to continue his mission. However, he lacked the resources to carry out his foundation’s projects. Volunteers always try to help him in moving things forward with the goal of prevention.
“When things like that happen, it’s thinking that there are very, very systematic ways to get to where you want to go. I understand that it’s never the same and the conditions are never the same, but there’s a general template that must be established,” he explained.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is still investigating the kidnapping of Cédrica, a little girl who suddenly disappeared in 2007, but she will always have a place in the collective memory.