QUEBEC PROVINCIAL POLICE OFFICER COMMITS SUICIDE - CORRUPTION WINS AGAIN
A high-ranking Sûreté du Québec officer whose body was found in a lake near Sorel last year took his own life and had been suffering from the pressures of his job for several months, according to a provincial coroner who investigated his death.
Capt. Éric Martin, 49, was the number two officer in Operation Hammer, the first police squad assembled to investigate corruption and collusion in the construction industry before it was fused into UPAC.
According to a report prepared by Quebec coroner Pierre Belisle, the pressure Martin experienced on the job caused him to take a sabbatical leave early in 2013. He took a job in the private sector while on leave.
"Through the testimony of the people close to him, we learned that Mr. Martin occupied a high-level position with the Sûreté du Québec. The pressure and the responsibilities that accompanied the mandates assumed by Mr. Martin had a serious affect on his health, principally his mental health," Belisle wrote in his report.
Martin's problems within the SQ became news in September 2011 when reports surfaced that he wanted out of Operation Hammer and had requested a transfer to a squad that would have nothing to do with construction. At the time, the SQ confirmed that Martin was a candidate to head up a different squad, described it as a promotion and denied his departure from Hammer had anything to do with disagreements he might have had with officers above his rank.
Belisle's report details how Martin's leave was followed by two very serious suicide attempts in the months that followed, including one at the start of December 2013. He was also hospitalized twice for psychiatric care, on Dec. 7 and 27, just before he disappeared.
At that point, his father was living with him because his family was concerned about what Martin might do if he were left on his own. According to the coroner's report, his mental state appeared to have improved with medication. On Dec. 29, 2013, he spoke to his daughter and he said he was looking forward to a family dinner that was organized for the following day. But, sometime before 1 a.m. on Dec. 30, a day on which the average temperature in Montreal was -13 C, Martin left his apartment without wearing any boots or a coat. He also left his identification cards and medication behind.
Belisle's report also states that it appears that Matin walked to the area where he drowned. He no longer had the use of a vehicle at the time and the police could find no record of a taxi picking him up.
When his father noticed Martin was missing, he and Martin's spouse called the Montreal police for help. Belisle notes in his report that Martin left no note explaining his intentions.
Two people noticed his body floating in Lac St-Pierre, between Sorel and St-Ignace-de-Loyola, on April 12, 2014. The body was lifted out of the lake by helicopter. The identification of Martin's body was confirmed through dental records.
The coroner has determined Martin took his own life and died by drowning.