Montreal

Police charge suspect 10 years after Jenique Dalcourt killed in Longueuil, Que.

Police on Montreal's South Shore said they arrested 35-year-old Michael Mcduff-Jalbert nearly 10 years after the killing of Jenique Dalcourt.

35-year-old man charged with first-degree murder

someone holding a framed portrait of a young brunette
Jenique Dalcourt was walking home along a dimly lit bike path when she was assaulted in October 2014. (Radio-Canada)

Longueuil, Que., police say they found the man who killed Jenique Dalcourt, a 23-year-old woman beaten to death on a bike path on Montreal's South Shore 10 years ago.

Michael Mcduff-Jalbert, 35, was arrested on Tuesday and charged him with first-degree murder. He appeared briefly in a Longueuil courtroom on Wednesday.

Police arrested him after new technology gave them a break in the case, said Pierre Duquette, the chief inspector of the major crimes division at the Service de police de l'agglomération de Longueuil (SPAL), at a news conference Wednesday morning.

When Dalcourt was slain, police initially arrested 26-year-old Mcduff-Jalbert, reported The Canadian Press, but did not have enough evidence to lay charges.

A year later, police presented a new dossier to the office of Quebec's director of penal and criminal prosecutions (DPCP), which once again said it didn't have enough evidence to make an arrest. 

flowers on grass next to a cross
Fresh flowers were placed at Jenique Dalcourt's memorial in Longueuil, Que., on Wednesday. (Mélissa François/CBC)

Duquette said police cannot disclose how they gathered evidence in this case, so as to not interfere with the judicial process, though he said it involved recent technology. He said the investigative team on the case was the same that solved Sharron Prior's murder last year.

Crown prosecutor Julie Vincent said she and her colleagues are confident that their case is strong enough to prove Mcduff-Jalbert's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but would not give any details before the trial starts. 

Dalcourt's father, John Gandolfo, told journalists outside the courtroom that though nothing can bring his daughter back, his family can get some sort of closure.

"Our daughter Jenique was senselessly and brutally murdered, beaten to death by a sick individual who needs to pay for his crimes," he said.

"Our family now needs time to process all of this."

Dalcourt was a kind, happy young woman who exuded positivity, her brother Nick Gandolfo said at the time of her death. 

"It was just something that radiated off of her," he told CBC News. 

"I knew that if I was having a bad day, I could reach out to my younger sister and she would put a smile on my face. Just thinking about it now puts a smile on my face."

Other cold cases solved

Though police did not confirm what technology was used in Dalcourt's case, a number of cold cases have recently been solved thanks to advances in DNA testing. 

Last year, Longueuil police solved the 50-year-old murder of Montreal teen Sharron Prior. 

She disappeared in 1975 after setting out to meet friends at a pizza parlour near her home in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood. Her body was found three days later in a wooded area in Longueuil.

At the time, the amount of DNA gathered at the scene was insufficient to be tested or used in court. In 2019, genealogical DNA testing led police to Franklin Romine, an American from West Virginia, who died in 1982. His body was exhumed and police confirmed the DNA match.

WATCH | How some police departments are cracking cold cases: 

Why more cold cases are being solved in Ontario than in Quebec

3 months ago
Duration 4:08
CBC investigative journalist Leah Hendry breaks down how new DNA technology is helping crack cold cases and why more of those cases are being solved in Ontario than in Quebec.

Longueuil police have a dedicated cold case unit with two investigators who are poring over evidence from about 30 cold cases.

In February, Marc-André Grenon was found guilty by a jury of killing Guylaine Potvin in 2000. 

Grenon was arrested in October 2022 after DNA on two discarded drinking straws matched DNA evidence from the crime scene. This match was confirmed through a second DNA test after Grenon's arrest.

Stéphane Luce, who runs Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of cold cases, said the news is encouraging. 

Luce's mother was killed in Longueuil, and he says police advances in cases like Dalcourt's gives hopes to other families of missing and murdered people.

"I'm pretty sure [forensic technology] will give lots of results within the next few years," he said. 

"I was quite satisfied to hear that they kept working on the case and that they finally got the proof." 

Mcduff-Jalbert will be back in court July 19 and will remain in custody.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erika Morris

CBC News journalist

Erika Morris is a journalist at CBC Montreal.

With files from Mélissa François and The Canadian Press