Francois Senecal, accused killer of Lachute teen, appears in court

François Sénécal, the man accused in the first-degree murder of 13-year-old Océane Boyer, was back at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse Wednesday.

Looking tired and dishevelled, the 51-year-old appeared briefly in front of the judge as his defence lawyers asked that some sort of warrants be unsealed.

The judge granted the request, but imposed a publication ban on the contents.

Dozens of Boyer's friends and family were in court for the hearing, sitting silently in the tense room. Her parents were not in attendance.

Sénécal's daughter, Alexandra, was also in the courtroom. She has spoken before about the close relationship her father had with Boyer, noting the teen calling him “uncle.”

"He cried in my arms," she told reporters last week. "I went to see him to give support and he cried in my arms and said, 'it can't be.' ... I would have never thought."

Sénécal has been described as a longtime family friend, who had known Boyer since her birth.

The teen's body was found partially clothed and mutilated last Wednesday near Horrem Road and Berlin Street in Brownsburg-Chatham, about 90 km away from Montreal.

According to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), there were traces of violence on the girl's body.

Her tragic death has devastated many in the small community, including those who attended the same school, École polyvalente Lavigne, and those who knew her from the local youth centre, Univers jeunesse Argenteuil.

"You're always responsible -- you feel responsible for the security of your citizens," said Lachute Mayor Carl Péloquin, adding his son had gone to elementary school with Boyer. "It's pretty hard to observe those kinds of incidents."

Boyer's funeral will take place on Friday at the Sainte-Anastasie Church in Lachute.

Sénécal is expected back in court on March 20.