The mother of Valérie Leblanc pleaded for the public's help Thursday, two months after the Gatineau, Que., teen's body was found badly beaten and burned in a forest behind her CEGEP.
Speaking publicly for the first time at a news conference organized by Gatineau police, Julie Charron refused to answer any questions but spoke instead about her pain after her 18-year-old daughter was found dead.
"The last weeks have been very difficult for us and for Valérie's friends," she read in a prepared statement, "Somebody took my daughter's life. She was a real sunshine and suddenly, she was taken away from us."
Leblanc went missing on her first day of school in late August and her body was found by some students near a path August 23. An autopsy later showed she was killed by severe blows to the head.
"We want the police officers to find who is responsible for this horrible murder and make sure the person is arrested and convicted," Charron added.
Police release sketch of 'important witness'
Police still do not have any suspects, but they did release a sketch of a man described as an "important witness" in the slaying who was seen wearing a black hat.
They said there have been more than 500 tips related to this homicide investigation and repeated their call for more information.
The force also offered a $10,000 reward for information related to the case. The amount was raised by donations, police added.
Leblanc's mother also asked for the public to examine the sketch and use social media to help track down either the witness or any possible suspects.
Gatineau police last updated the public Sept. 1 when they released details of a key witness. The witness is described as a white man in his 20s, about six feet tall and 200 pounds, with a chubby face, short black hair, no facial hair and a pot belly. He also had a summer tan "with a particular olive complexion."
The witness was also said to be wearing an open black nylon jacket, along with a black T-shirt with a red and golden logo, a black cap and black wrinkled pants. He was walking decisively and looked worried.
In an earlier press conference, Gatineau police declared they had no suspects but their chief defended the investigation, saying they did not believe the case should be turned over to provincial police.
There were two investigations related to the death. One focused on how Leblanc died and the other on possible tampering with her body after she had died.