Saturday, November 1, 2008

Why?

Fifteen years ago this month, on a deserted back road near St. Antoine, New Brunswick, seventeen year-old Marcel Cormier and his fourteen year-old girlfriend, Marcia LeBlanc, were parked in Cormier’s car. It was late. It was cold. I always imagine the two of them wrapped around each other on that November night, young and in love in the way you can only be the first time.

Those were the last moments the two teens would spend together. The next day Marcel Cormier’s body was found in the car. He’d been shot. Marcia LeBlanc was missing.

RCMP interviewed a lot of people in the days after the crime, including Roger LeBlanc (no relation to Marcia), who they knew had spent time at an after hours bar not far from the crime scene. A day after being questioned by the authorities, Roger LeBlanc disappeared At first police thought he’d gotten lost while out hunting. Very quickly they discovered Roger LeBlanc had vanished into the woods by choice. RCMP and Search & Rescue volunteers went over the area for any sign of Roger LeBlanc or Marcia LeBlanc. Some of Roger LeBlanc’s belongings were found in a nearby river, but there was no sign of him.

The rumours began almost as soon as LeBlanc went missing. He was long gone—in Ontario or farther west one story went. Others insisted Roger LeBlanc knew the area around St. Antoine like the back of his hand, that he was hiding, living in a part of the woods so dense no one would ever find him. And of course there were whispers that he was dead.

Despite the rumours, no one knew if Roger LeBlanc knew anything about the murders. Could he be a killer? Was he a witness? Had he just been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Maybe he knew nothing.

And where was Marcia LeBlanc? Her father refused to believe she was dead, refused to stop looking for his child, refused to give up hope as the days turned into weeks and then months. He searched the woods and back roads and it was impossible not to hurt for him, or hope—even just a tiny bit—with him. And impossible not to grieve for him when Marcia LeBlanc’s remains were finally found.

Why? That was what everyone wanted to know. Why would someone—Roger LeBlanc or anyone else—murder a couple of teenagers? Did they see something? Did they stumble on another crime? A drug deal? An assault? Why?

There were no answers in the Marcel Cormier-Marcia LeBlanc murders. The case is still listed on the Unsolved Crimes section of the RCMP’s website.

Why? Why do people do what they do? What drives someone to kill another person? What drives someone else to try to catch the killer?

A number of years ago science fiction author Nancy Kress was a columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine. She talked about the need for writers to answer the question “Why?” in one of her columns. In the real world, she explained (I’m paraphrasing) people do things for silly reasons, stupid reasons or for no reasons at all. But in a fictional world your characters better have reasons for the things they do and those reasons better be good ones.

In the fictional world the whys have to be answered. When I think about Marcel Cormier and Marcia LeBlanc I wish the whys had to be answered in the real world as well.

10 comments:

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

A chilling story, Darlene. I was reminded of Dead Man Walking (wasn't that a real-life case?), in which the murderer killed the parked teenagers because he was high and because he could. I agree that in fiction you need more motivation. Do you know for sure that the kids in your real-life story were in love? They might easily have been on a casual date--or a relationship that would only have lasted a month or two if they had lived.

Darlene Ryan said...

Liz, from what I know of the story it was first love. The whole thing was so achingly sad and still is because the case is unsolved.

Sandra Parshall said...

The senseless crimes are the most painful to consider. People always want a reason, even if it's a flimsy, crazy one. In fiction we can create people with strong reasons for what they do, and we can provide a satisfying conclusion, complete with punishment for the killer. In that way, stories about murder and mayhem can actually be comforting. They make sense of the world and human behavior.

Julia Buckley said...

I remember Nancy Kress! I always enjoyed her columns.

Yes, a chilling story, yet all too familiar, isn't it? Even with the woods as a setting for remains. Added to the "why" of why someone does something is the question "what" aren't we doing to prevent people from becoming murderers? Or will there always be murderers, in any society?

cindymarie said...

Marcel Cormier was my first cousin. And ya it does hurt not knowing why. And they were in love. Over the years many rumors have been spread, but yet we dont know why this happened to two so young teenagers.

Anonymous said...

i am wondering about the relationship with the daughter and father? maybe he killed the daughter and bf and roger leblanc witnessed it and killed him too

Debbie said...

I had a dream about this and woke in the morning and the story was on the news. I phoned the Crime Stoppers to tell them about the dream, but do not know if they acted on it.

Marcie was taken alive and held against her will. I could see her under the floor boards of an old barn, she was alive and terrified. The man who took her, was dressed like a hunter and was watching, waiting to see if he would be found. The barn was very old, abandoned and isolated. He is crazy about Marcie and wanted her for himself although she was so young.

This was my dream.

Debbie said...

I had a dream about this and woke in the morning and the story was on the news. I phoned the Crime Stoppers to tell them about the dream, but do not know if they acted on it.

Marcie was taken alive and held against her will. I could see her under the floor boards of an old barn, she was alive and terrified. The man who took her, was dressed like a hunter and was watching, waiting to see if he would be found. The barn was very old, abandoned and isolated. He is crazy about Marcie and wanted her for himself although she was so young.

This was my dream.

Anonymous said...

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/nb/prog_services/unsolved_crimes-crimes_non_resolus/index-eng.htm this story is still unsolved as of july 2012 so sad.

Anonymous said...

this is creepy but i also had a dream ..a dream were she was under pavement in the woods and asking me to help her out ...