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A public school in North York has been closed due to a Quebec investigation into a theft and murder that involved busing students to a daycare where a child was murdered.
The Peel District School Board (TDSB) made the recommendation due to a suspect arrest report which indicates the school could be a target by the same Quebec suspect that also targeted the daycare.
On Friday, 38-year-old Simone Berube was arrested by Quebec police investigators and charged with the murder of “Beatrice Boisvert,” approximately three-and-a-half months ago, inside the North York school location located at 426 York Mills Road in North York.
Investigators identified the suspect as Berube and say she is suspected of stealing two school buses and driving children from the school to the Gage Girls’ Daycare on Peche Dr. outside of Montreal. Investigators believe Berube’s intent was to transport children to the daycare while they were alone and to ensure there were no parents present.
Quebec police say they received an anonymous tip indicating Berube may be a suspect in the Berrup’s murder. Investigators later confirmed that Berube had the license plate number of the school bus and vehicle registration.
TDSB spokesperson Mr. Remington Picard told the Toronto Sun that police had contacted the school board on January 9 in regards to the first set of allegations.
Picard said, “We had a very clear understanding with the Sûreté du Québec that we do not want to subject the employees at this school to possible workplace intimidation. If this suspect has any nefarious intent she should be a very clear threat against the employee, and therefore she should be detained.”
Lawrence Campbell, Deputy Chief Constable with Peel Regional Police spoke with the Sun regarding the homicide and school area. He said, “We responded to an incident of a kidnapping report at about 5 o’clock in the morning. We intercepted a second bus, a smaller, older bus transporting kids to a school in North York. It wasn’t at the school, it was parked nearby. We saw that there was something wrong with the bus and we looked inside.”
Campbell went on to say, “In terms of what we do, we ended up arresting the mother and father of the vehicle for failing to notify authorities when it was missing.
“We have since spoken to many people that may have known the victims, including school administrators and teachers, but we have received no additional information so far.”
According to Campbell, the mom does not work at the school and the bus driver said the bus did not belong to them, and has been related to some lower-income residents in the area. The girl’s mother and father are still considered witnesses and not suspects.
However, the Peel Regional Police believe they have an idea what may have happened on the day of the murder, but are seeking more information to verify their suspicions. Campbell noted, “At this point we feel that there was an attempt to murder the victims and we believe the crime may have been committed as part of a blood feud, so we have concerns because they were related to this daycare.”
News of the murder made national headlines last year when the girl’s remains were found in a grave north of Montreal.
A GoFundMe page set up to help the family of Beatrice Boisvert with funeral expenses has reached their goal, raising $41,755.
Courtney Bennett, the Boisvert’s friend and heir apparent to the family business was distraught by the allegations involving their daughter’s murder and said she knew Berube, but her motive has never been established.
Bennett said she called Berube shortly after finding out about the murder investigation and discovered she was a very quiet woman. She recalled, “I was trying to stay calm while all the stuff was happening. I’m wondering why she would do something like this.”
Instead of the bus Berube was accused of stealing, the school superintendent recommended the TDSB stop accepting children out of that location until the investigation is completed.
Watch the announcement video posted on Facebook from Peel Region Police: