Cedrika Provencher case: Bettez family files $10.5M lawsuit against SQ
The family of the man who was considered the main suspect in Cedrika Provencher's abduction and murder, despite no one ever being charged in the case, is suing the Sureté du Quebec for ruining his life.
The lawsuit filed in a Montreal courtroom this week alleges the actions of the provincial police force as they focused on Jonathan Bettez irrevocably tarnished the reputation of him and his family, and had a devastating effect on their personal lives and the family business.
Previously filed court documents have shown that police quickly focused their investigation on Bettez after nine-year-old Cedrika disappeared in Trois Rivieres in 2007. Her remains were found in a wooded area in December 2015.
For years police pursued Bettez as their key suspect because he owned a red Acura, and a similar vehicle was seen near Cedrika's last known location.
In 2016 the SQ arrested Bettez and he was charged with possession of child pornography after computer searches showed 'traces' of child porn on his devices.
The arrest, and the disclosure that the SQ considered him the only suspect in Cedrika's disappearance even though he was never charged in that crime, led to an outpouring of anger throughout Trois Rivieres and across Quebec.
People screamed and jeered at Bettez during his court appearances, calling him a pedophile and murderer.
Others posted nasty reviews of the company's business, Emballages Bettez, and the family removed their name from the building.
The court filing alleges people scrawled death threats on their garage door, someone tied a noose to the light on their front porch, and people hurled eggs at their home.
The lawsuit intends to prove that police had "the goal of crystallizing, in public opinion, the association between the name 'Bettez' and the disappearance and murder of Cedrika Provencher, all without ever filing criminal charges against Jonathan Bettez for lack of evidence."
The lawsuit names the SQ, as well as Quebec's Attorney General and former SQ director Martin Prud'homme, as defendants.
Lengthy investigation ended with acquittal
Court documents showed that police kept close tabs on Bettez for years and had pursued a multitude of tactics in their attempt to find evidence of wrongdoing.
Police placed a GPS tracker on his car, searched his house when he was not home, and copied the contents of his computers.
They also created a fake contest and awarded a golf trip to Bettez in hopes that undercover agents could convince him to make incriminating statements.
Undercover officers also gave Bettez $15,000 to help him become a professional poker player before Bettez became suspicious of his newfound friends.
After Cedrika's remains were discovered, police expanded their operation and placed hidden microphones in his home, workplace, and in other locations he frequented in hopes of getting evidence--to no avail.
Last year a judge found Bettez not guilty of possessing child pornography and threw out the evidence against him, saying the search warrants should never have been approved.
Nobody was ever charged in Cedrika's disappearance and murder.
You can read the lawsuit below.