Mother dies one day after asking Quebec police for help with son, watchdog says

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. — A 32-year-old man is facing a murder charge in connection with the death of his mother, who died one day after she allegedly tried and failed to get police to force her son to receive mental health treatment.

Jean-Luc Ferland was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder at the courthouse in Drummondville, Que., about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

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Quebec's police watchdog is investigating the incident, which allegedly occurred Sunday, according to Ferland's charge sheet.

Preliminary information provided by the watchdog suggests the 57-year-old mother went to the provincial police station in Drummondville Sunday asking about a psychiatric evaluation for her son, who had been living with her for the last few weeks.

The woman, whom the coroner later identified as Suzanne Desjardins, left the police station and went to work after "police were unable to immediately assist the woman in her request," the watchdog said in a news release. She was attacked later that day.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, a person called police to ask them to check on a loved one who was unreachable, according to the watchdog.

Officers at the scene found Desjardins seriously injured. She was taken to hospital, where she was declared dead.

Quebec's police watchdog, called the Bureau des enquetes independantes, investigates police-involved civilian deaths and injuries. It has assigned eight officers to the case who will be aided by Montreal police.

The provincial police would not comment Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation.

Prosecutor Kevin Mailhiot said the suspect would remain in detention until the case returns to court Aug. 14.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2020.

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