« They believe their missing daughter was seen in the Hawkesbury area a few years ago, » said Marc Bellemare, during a press conference with regional, provincial and national media October 29 at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury.
Marilyn Bergeron, 24, was last seen February 17, 2008, when she left the house in Québec City where she lived with her parents, Michel Bergeron and Andrée Béchard. She said she was going for a short walk and would be back in a few hours. Her family still waits for her return.
« They have been searching for her for the last 15 years, » said Bellemare, a Québec City lawyer and former provincial justice minister and attorney general, who is helping the Bergeron family with their efforts to find the missing woman.
A Québec City police investigation has evidence documenting Bergeron’s movements after she left the house up to the point when a CCTV camera captured images of her trying to withdraw money from a caisse populaire ABM on the morning that she left the house. Later in the afternoon she bought a coffee at a café, paying for it with her credit card. Since then there has been no further information about her whereabouts.
The police investigation is limited to the Québec City area. The family has lobbied, without success, to have the case turned over to the Québec Sûreté, which has more resources available to conduct a province-wide missing person investigation.
There were later reports of sightings of Bergeron in Ontario around the Hawkesbury area. Guy Salicco, a resident of the Village of St-Eugène in East Hawkesbury Township, related during the Friday press conference his story of a woman who he thinks may have been Bergeron.
Salicco was living in Hawkesbury in 2009, near the corner of Lansdowne Street and Cameron Street. In the early-morning hours one night in December, the doorbell rang. When he got up to open the door, Salicco found a young woman, wet and cold from the rainy weather that night, standing on his doorstep.
The woman asked for directions to Chamberland Street and then asked if she could use Salicco’s phone. She made a call but got no answer. She stayed long enough to towel her hair dry but declined an offer for a ride over to Chamberland Street, saying she would walk.
She apologized to Salicco for disturbing him so early in the morning and left. It wasn’t until Salicco later saw an article, with photos, on the Internet about the Bergeron missing persons case that he realized it might have been Marilyn Bergeron who had appeared on his doorstep that night. The woman had blonde hair instead of brown like Bergeron, but he said that other than that, the woman looked like Marilyn Bergeron.
Salicco called the local OPP detachment to report the incident. The report was forwarded to the Québec City police who sent investigators in March 2010 to interview Salicco about his possible encounter with the missing woman. Salicco later contacted the family to report what he had seen.
Andrée Béchard and Michel Bergeron continue to hope that their daughter is alive and that someone somewhere knows where she is.
« We keep searching, » said Béchard, during the Friday press conference.
Anyone who has seen Marilyn Bergeron, or has information that may lead to finding her, can contact their local OPP detachment, the CrimeStoppers confidential tips hotline at 1-800-222-8477, the Bergeron family at 1-800-840-1526, Bellemare at 1-418-681-1227, or the Québec City police at 1-888-641-2447. Information and photos on the Bergeron case are available at www.trouvermarily.com and www.findmarilyn.com.