Man, 36, charged in killing of mother of five in another suspected femicide in Quebec

A 36-year-old Quebec man has been charged with second-degree murder of his ex-partner, a mother of five children.

Alexandre Boudreau Chartrand was charged Wednesday afternoon at the Joliette courthouse in the death of 32-year-old Andréanne Ouellet in St-Donat, a Lanaudiere town about 120 kilometres north of Montreal.

She worked at a depanneur in the area and people who knew her say she was very quiet and kept to herself. Her colleagues said she told them she in what she called a “complicated” relationship. Ouellet's mother told Le Journal de Montreal her daughter was in a toxic relationship and she feared it wouldn’t end well.

Police say officers from the Matawinie station arrived at the scene at 2:45 p.m. Monday following a 911 call. They discovered the woman's lifeless body in a single-family residence on Montagne Road.

Boudreau Chartrand was arrested Tuesday after a forensic team with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) analyzed the scene where the killing took place.

None of her children were at the home at the time of the killing, according to Tremblay. 

“The investigation shows that he had the intention to commit murder but it wasn’t premeditated,” said prosecutor Caroline Buist.

In tears, the suspect asked to see his children, but the court ordered him not to communicate with several people including his five children.

“There are a lot of things to evaluate, but nothing to say right now. I wish I could say, but I don’t know anything,” said defence attorney Alexandre Garel.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death. Boudreau Chartrand returns to court on Oct. 20 and remains behind bars until then.

The woman's death is the 15th suspected femicide in Quebec in 2021.

HOW TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE

The tragic killing has reignited the discussion about how to address domestic violence and the province’s response to the crisis.

The work to end domestic violence needs to start with people at a young age, says Shennel Hunte, a board member at Women Aware, a Montreal-based non-profit organization founded by survivors of domestic abuse.

“As much as the government is trying to set up different police … units and giving money toward the cause, something has to start to prevent these things from happening instead of doing damage control once it has already happened,” Hunte said.

The education needs to start with youth at home about healthy relationships and educating boys about how to treat girls, especially in relationships, she adds.

Friends of Ouellet say she was in a “complicated situation” at home — something Hunte notes is oftentimes not the woman’s choice, but is a sign that a friend or family member should consider reaching out.

“It’s hard to come forward, it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on behind closed doors. Just make your presence known to them,” she said. “Also, you can call the hotline of Women Aware for tips and to discuss what you can do, what more you can do because we do have training in terms of helping friends and family along with this problem.”

Some warning signs to watch out for include a sudden change in personality, being on edge or agitated when leaving the home or checking their phone constantly to check in.

However, not all signs are easily observable, since abuse can take many different forms, including emotional, financial and sexual abuse.

“Sometimes it’s impossible to know what happens because the abuser is very, very good at hiding it and very, very good at scaring women into saying anything or showing that anything is happening,” she said.

SUPPORT NETWORK

Victims of domestic violence can contact SOS violence conjugale at 1-800-363-9010.

Other resources:

-- with files from CTV News' Rob Lurie.

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