Police say everyone missing in Lac-Megantic is dead
The death toll in Lac-Megantic rose by five Wednesday, bringing the total of bodies found in the carnage to 20. A total of 50 people have been confirmed missing and presumed dead..
Insp. Michel Forget confirmed the number in a press conference Wednesday evening.
The identity of one body discovered in the wreckage has been identified, said coroner Genevieve Guilbault. The family has been informed, but out of respect to them, the coroner said she would not reveal their name.
She added that 15 of the 20 bodies have been sent to the coroner's laboratory in Montreal for identification. The coroner's office is asking families of the dead and missing to provide DNA samples, possibly from toothbrushes or combs, to help identify the remains that have been retrieved.
Earlier in the day, Forget said the number of those missing had been unconfirmed.
"I can tell you personally that I was with someone this morning who saw a name and a face of someone they know on a list of missing people and they were incredibly affected -- but the person [on that list] is not missing," said Forget.
"We have found three people who were at one point on the missing persons list. They were out of town," Forget said.
The SQ can be contacted at 1-800-659-4264 to confirm any missing people who have since been found.
The number of police officers who are working in Lac-Megantic to scour the devastation is now 200.
Police are treating the blast area as a crime scene and say they are collecting evidence in case of possible charges of sabotage or criminal negligence.
"In Quebec it is up to the Crown, to prosecutors, to lay charges, not police," acknowledged Forget.