TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. – Court documents show Quebec provincial police went to great lengths to lure a man they considered a key suspect in the disappearance of a young girl in 2007.
For more than eight years, Cedrika Provencher’s face was plastered on posters across the province. There were rumours and claims of sightings, a massive manhunt and heartfelt appeals for information from the family that didn’t pan out.
Then, on Dec. 11, 2015, her remains were discovered by hunters along Highway 40 in Saint-Maurice, near her home in Trois-Rivieres, halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.
Back in 2007, authorities looking for a red Acura in connection with the girl’s disappearance found six models that matched a description given by eyewitnesses.
A police investigator said in the documents released this week that all the owners except Jonathan Bettez had an alibi.
The documents go on to state that police made Bettez believe he had won a contest in 2009 in which the prize was a stay at a luxury hotel in Mont-Tremblant, north of Montreal.
An undercover agent drove him there in a limousine and then back to Trois-Rivieres a few days later.
The undercover cop is quoted as saying in the documents that they saw a bikini-clad girl who was between 10 or 12 while they were playing golf in Mont-Tremblant.
Bettez reportedly asked the officer, ”Did you see the bikini?,” before adding, ”She’s a bit young.”
The documents say the undercover cop gave Bettez $15,000 to help him become a professional poker player and asked him in exchange to do unnamed favours.
Bettez then distanced himself from the agent in August 2010 because he did not feel comfortable with the man’s activities.
According to the documents, police asked Bettez to take a lie-detector test in 2007, 2012 and 2015. For the first two, he sought conditions the police did not agree to, while he refused the third one.
To date, there have been no arrests in Cedrika’s disappearance and slaying.
Bettez faces various child pornography charges not related to Cedrika Provencher.