2 arrested after 19-year-old womans body found in field near Trois-Rivières

MONTREAL — Two men are facing first-degree murder charges in the slaying of a 19-year-old Quebec woman whose death may be linked to the discovery of two more bodies, provincial police said Friday.

Rene Kegle, 38, and Francis Martel, 31 — both from Quebec’s Mauricie region — appeared in court in Trois-Rivieres late Friday in connection with the killing of junior-college student Ophelie Martin-Cyr.

In addition to the two first-degree murder charges, Kegle is charged with attempted murder of a 21-year-old woman who escaped from a moving car early Wednesday.

Police say the 21-year-old was a friend of Martin-Cyr, and she was the one who first alerted authorities to Martin-Cyr’s disappearance.

A farmer found Martin-Cyr’s body a few hours later in a field in Yamachiche, about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

In a dramatic twist, provincial police spokeswoman Eloise Cossette said Friday that investigators now believe the case is connected to the discovery the same day of a burnt-out SUV 35 kilometres away. The vehicle was later found to contain two charred bodies.

“There are certain elements that allow us to believe that it could be linked, this vehicle, to the murder in Yamachiche,” Cossette said in a phone interview.

Cossette said it’s impossible to determine the age or sex of the badly burned victims, and she did not elaborate on how the two events might be connected.

While police were giving few details about the murder, a close friend of the victim said she and some other friends had become worried about some of the people in Martin-Cyr’s extended circle.

Shannie Gelinas remembers Martin-Cyr as a kind and open-hearted person who always wanted to help her friends.

“She had some friends who weren’t on the straight and narrow, and I think it was (her desire) to help others that resulted in her not saving herself,” she said in a phone interview.

Gelinas has also met the suspect Martel, whom she described as “cold” and “withdrawn.”

She says she’s devastated by the loss of her friend. She remembers her as a fun-loving person who was very close to her father.

“Even everyday things were fun with her,” she said. “Watching a movie was funny, going for a ride was fun.”

Martin-Cyr was studying to become a paralegal in order to give herself a better future, Gelinas said.

“They took away the chance of a kid — because at 19 we’re still kids,” she said. “They took away her chance to blossom, to grow … to have a future, when their own was already broken.”

Two men are to be arraigned in the slaying of a 19-year-old Quebec woman whose body was discovered in a field this week.

Provincial police say Rene Kegle and Francis Martel were arrested separately in Montreal and in a suburb east of the city early today.

Both men in their 30s are from the Mauricie region and are to be arraigned in Trois-Rivieres in connection with the killing of Ophelie Martin-Cyr.

The junior college student's body was found Wednesday morning in Yamachiche, about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

Investigators have spoken to a 21-year-old woman who jumped from a moving car early Wednesday, an event they say was linked to Martin-Cyr's death.

Authorities had been searching for the two men, and warrants for first-degree murder were issued on Thursday.

Police also found a burnt-out vehicle in Trois-Rivieres early Wednesday containing at least one body, but they haven't established a link between the discovery and the woman's slaying.