It was to be a small ceremony, but it turned into something much larger.

On Sunday morning (March 1), hundreds of people made their way to the place along Chemin de Horrem in Brownsburg-Chatham where the body of 13-year-old Océane Boyer was found on Wednesday morning.  Family, friends, classmates, and many more gathered to show respect and comfort each other.  Three chartered school buses brought mourners from the Maison des Jeunes in Lachute and many more followed in private vehicles.

François Sénecal, 51, was arrested by police on Thursday afternoon in Montréal.  He was subsequently charged with first-degree murder and made a court appearance in St-Jérôme on Friday.  Sénecal was reported to be acquainted with Boyer’s family.

Boyer’s mother, Caroline Sarrazin and her father Francis Boyer were extremely emotional as they exited a car and made their way through the crowd to the white cross with Océane’s photo on it beside the wooded road.  Family, friends, and others placed flowers and stuffed toys by the cross.  After a minute of silence, music played over a loudspeaker atop a parked car and the crowd released balloons into the sky in remembrance of Océane.

After the balloons drifted skyward, a mood of shock and alarm set in.  Caroline Sarrazin collapsed to the ground and another woman standing nearby screamed and began to cry loudly.  The single Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officer and a police cadet present told the crowd to clear the area and leave.  But the crowd was slow to disperse, and the narrow, rural road was barely passable due to the long line of parked cars and buses that extended along it and nearby Route 327.  People began to shout at others to leave and gradually mourners began to leave. Others took control and directed traffic on the highway.  More SQ officers and an ambulance were waiting nearby in the parking lot of the hardware store in Pine Hill.

The funeral service for Océane Boyer will take place on Friday, March 6 at Église Ste-Anastasie in Lachute.