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Corporal Marie-France Comeau (37) was fulfilling her life's dream. As a flight attendant
at CFB Trenton, she served aboard Military VIP flights ferrying dignitaries on domestic
and overseas trips. Corporal Marie-France Comeau was assigned to 437 Squadron and
had been there for six months. She'd been serving honorably in the military for 12 years.
Her friends, family, and even acquaintances describe Marie-France as: having a passion
for life and adventure; she was sweet, generous, happy, kind, charming, intelligent, sparkly,
bubbly, generous, beautiful, adorable, funny with a silly sense of humour; everybody liked
her, reliable and hard-working, and she loved her job."
Official Military and Police records now describe Marie-France Comeau with one other
adjective that no one who knew Marie-France could ever have imagined her being -
What else no one who knew Marie-France could envision, or even fathom, was just who
was responsible for her murder - a person in her chain of command, in fact, in everyone's
chain of command at CFB Trenton's base - it was their base's commanding officer.
TOURS OF DUTY
1990s - Cpl. Marie-France Comeau was a Flight Attendant aboard the same
military VIP flights that her commanding officer, Col. Russell "Russ
Williams (Svoka) piloted. Col Williams is well-known at the Trenton
RCAF base (Ontario) as being an "avid amateur photographer."
Col. Williams is married.
2007 - Cpl. Marie -France Comeau relocated to Trenton. Soon after she applies
for the flight attendant position.
CHANGE OF RESIDENCE
2008 - September - Marie-France Comeau moves house into a street of mostly
military families. Although she'd split from her common-law
partner, Alain Plante, (they were together for more than 4
years) and kept in close contact. Marie-France had become
as a step-mother to Etienne, Plante's two teen sons by a
former relationship. Alain Plante is a training instructor at
Chanci MacKenzie (Neighbour who lived next door)
"I didn't know Comeau very well. She was quiet and kept to herself.
However, anytime I did encounter her, Comeau was "extremely kind
and sweet." I've spoken to friends of Comeau who described her as
"awesome, fun-loving and outgoing."
DUTY IN AFGHANISTAN
2009 - April - Cpl. Marie-France Comeau performs duty in Afghanistan.
Master Cpl. Pierre Calve
"I met Comeau in Germany in 1989. The last time I saw her was on a plane bound
for Afghanistan in April 2009. She was an angel, a very nice person, always happy
and with a wonderful smile."
Private Thomas Warren (CFB Trenton) trained under Cpl. Comeau.)
"I knew her for about a year. She was one of the happiest people I have ever
known in my life,"
Cpl. Comeau was part of Operation Apollo's Roto 0 - the first group of Canadian
Soldiers to land in Afghanistan.
France Breault (Retired Master Corporal & Friend of Cpl.Comeau)
"Roto 0 from Operation Apollo is what some of us military call, 'When the s--t hits
I met Cpl. Comeau on a flight to Camp Mirage in 2002. Immediately we became
good friends. She was just the friendliest person there is. All her supervisors were
thrilled to have her working for them.
Cpl. Comeau worked as a traffic technician and would use a forklift to load and unload
cargo from incoming Hercules aircraft. The conditions were difficult. At one point, the
temperature peaked on the tarmac at 72 degrees Celsius. I am not kidding. She had
to work in extreme conditions. Tough conditions, but I've never heard Marie-France
complain. She did her job, with her usual smile, really making a difference,"
"When Canada moved from Kabul to Kandahar, Cpl. Comeau assisted in the transition.
We lived in small two-man tents and endured the 'harshest conditions' imaginable. She
did an incredible job there too. I am proud to have had the privilege to serve my country
side-by-side with Marie-France Comeau."
Cpl. Comeau was 'spontaneous and free spirited' and always helping her fellow soldiers.
She would never say anything to hurt anyone. She was so thoughtful. "If someone had a
bad day at the camp, somehow Marie would know about it and she would find herself
comforting that soldier."
"Cpl. Comeau became a flight attendant with 8 Wing Trenton's 437 Squadron after over
a decade in the Canadian Forces. She was chosen to work as the Prime Minister and
Governor General's flight attendant after six months on the job in 2009.
Considering that she was a flight attendant for only six months, it speaks volumes of
the exceptional skills she must have had. She was always very professional and I'm
not surprised she was selected for those trips. She was at the peak of her aspirations.
While flying with the Prime Minister she travelled to Japan, Singapore and India - her
final mission. She told me years ago that one day, she wanted to go to India. Fate is
such that it was her last mission."
2009 - July 14 - Col. Williams became the commanding officer at Canadian Forces
Base Trenton. He is also commander of 8 Wing.The base is the
air force's transportation hub, with virtually all personnel and cargo
going to and from Canada passing through Trenton.
Fall - Col Russell Williams (Svoka) and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau are on the
same VIP flight to Germany.
2009 - September - During the month of September, there are a rash break-ins
where lingerie is stolen. There are two sexual assaults
during which, the women are bound, blindfolded, photographed,
and sexually assaulted.
A man whose house was among those burglarized "I and my wife came home one
day to find family pictures on our bed and underwear drawers of my wife and daughters
Sept. 17 - Sexual Assault - A young couple in their 20's recently moved into
a cottage on the outskirts of Tweed. The couple, he from Tweed,
she's moved there to escape big city life, have recently had a baby.
A man breaks into the house, ties her up and assaults her.
The victim's home is burglarized twice after the assault.
The young couple move away from the area.
The second victim's home is robbed twice before the attack on her.
Sept. 30 - Sexual Assault - A single parent mother is awakened in the middle
of the night by her assailant, she is blindfolded,
and assaulted. Her attacker's voice is muffled.
2009 - November 15 - Marie-France Comeau's home is burglarized.
LAST TOUR OF DUTY - INDIA
2009 - November 22 - Cpl. Marie-France Comeau had just returned from an
international assignment, a working visit to India by
Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Alain Plante (Former common-law partner of Marie-France)
"I last spoke with her on Nov. 22. She had just returned from an
international assignment: a working visit to India by Prime Minister
"In the days after she got home, she gushed about the experience to her
friends. She loved her job. She loved learning about cultures. She wanted
to travel the world."
2009 - November 25 - Lunch hour
Neighbors Terry and Mary Alexander live across the road from Marie-France
Terry Alexander "Comeau's car was gone Wednesday morning."
Mary Alexander "I noticed she arrived back over the lunch hour."
A MISSED SHIFT
Cpl. Marie France-Comeau hasn't shown up for duty, which is extremely unlike her.
Alain Plante decides to stop by and check up on her.
12:58 P.M. - Terry Alexander walks out of his home to greet a
plumber coming for repairs, when Alain Plante, crying, runs across
the road yelling "She's dead inside the house!"
Terry Alexander "I saw him suddenly come charging out of house across the street.
He was crying his heart out. "Did you see any strange people or strange cars around
here? He shouted. "She's lying dead inside.
Ontario Provincial Police and emergency services are notified.
Later, military authorities are notified.
Jocelyn Kieffer (Next door neighbor)
"I'm shocked. We'e almost all military families on this street.
It's not easy to deal with. Our homes are just two feet apart."
ON BASE - UNITED WAY FUNDRAISER
On the same day that Cpl. Marie-France Comeau is murdered, Col. Russell
Williams (Svoka) (46) is jokingly charged with "Being too young to be a
wing commander," handcuffed and thrown in "jail" as part of a United
SEARCHING FOR CLUES
Police confim Cpl. Marie-France Comeau died as a result of homicide.
She had been blindfolded, sexually assaulted, and asphyxiated.
Police investigators strip the floors to the concrete, rip out the cabinets in the kitchen,
and tear apart the rest of the home looking for evidence.
2009 - November 26, - 12:13 A.M. - Official Notification
Col. Russell Williams, Base Commander, receives an email informing him of
Cpl. Comeau's death. Cpl. Comeau's commanding officer informs Col. Williams
an hour later by email that the police "are classifying the death as "suspicious."
6:41 A.M. - Williams responds from his Blackberry "I am aware of the incident
and will "catch up when I get in, if there is additional information."
Over the months of the police investigation, Col. Williams is kept in the loop via
email of any developments in the investigation by the Military Police.
LETTER OF CONDOLENCE
Col. Russell Williams wrote an official letter of condolence to the Comeau family.
"Please let me know whether there is anything I can do to help you during this
very difficult time. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers."
MARIE-FRANCE COMEAU'S FUNERAL
photos of funeral
2009 - December 4 - Friday - Hundreds of friends, family and Canadian Forces
personnel attend Cpl. Marie-France Comeau's funeral service
held at the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa.
Padre Paul-Alain Monpas delivered the Eulogy:
"We have all gathered here because of a tragic event. Marie is not with us anymore.
She was taken away from us in a very cruel way. Marie searched for the best avenue
to lead her life. She eventually found the Canadian Forces where she served as a flight
attendant with CFB Trenton's 437 Transport Squadron.
For Marie this was a dream. It was really a dream that became reality. Her big sense
of adventure brought her to voyage alone around the world, but also to become even
more involved in this vast world. Marie's military career helped quench her desire to
see the world, but also helped define her character. She would become an accomplished
woman and a quality member of the Canadian Forces, She had really become a citizen.
Marie's respect for those around her aided her career in the military. She always found the
words, for those having difficulty. She was never scared to get involved.She was full of talent
and whoever knew her can say that she made a difference in their lives one way or another.
Although Marie travelled the world with the Canadian Forces, she remained close with her
family. Throughout all of her journeys and all of her days they were a family who loved each
other and respected each other. Marie, a ray of sunshine to her friends and family, embarked
on a lifelong quest to seek truth in her life. She lived her life to the fullest,
Your life as we had known it is now a life of eternity."
MEMORIAL & TRIBUTES
CFB Public Affairs Officer Capt. Mark Peebles
"The military offers their condolences to Cpl. Comeau's family and friends.
Marie will be missed by comrades at 437 Squadron."
Facebook - Memorial Page for Cpl. Marie-France Comeau
Marie-France is described as "charming, intelligent, sparkly, bubbly, generous,
beautiful, adorable, funny, reliable, hard-working."
"Words are not sufficient to describe the amazing person Marie-France Comeau
is and always will be,"
Etienne Plante (son of Alain Plante)
"You were the best step-mother that could possibly have set foot in our lives.
You left us too early. Your Prince Charming will be waiting for you for the rest
of his life."
You are the "best stepmom in the world. I will remember her silliness, including
"her Chewbacca face" in the morning. Haha, my God we laughed during those
times. It was just like her to fall over in a laughing fit, we laughed together for
such stupid reasons! I will miss her so."
Alain Plante "I'll miss her for the rest of my life. She was an angel, a flower and
even though we were not together, I could never speak against her, she's a lovely
person. While shopping was one of Cpl. Comeau's hobbies, she loved her job,
that's for sure."
"She was a pure angel. She enjoyed life like you wouldn't imagine."
"I will miss goofing around with Marie-France. She had a good "joie de vivre.
"She made me stay young. We were like two teenagers...(My kids) would
come to us and say, 'That's enough. We're the children here. Act like adults.
I will miss that."
She was a beautiful person, inside and out. She was always smiling, like a flower,
like an angel. I could get lost in her eyes, her beautiful eyes."
Marie loved her job as an air force flight attendant, her personal connection to the
Canadian Forces ran deep, as her father was also a member."
Marc-Andrew Comeau (Marie-France's brother) posted on the Facebook page
for his sister, thanking the police for their work.
"I don't know if the next months will be as difficult as the last. I know however
that you are smiling now. And this eases my anger."
Jacinthe Guitard (Aunt of Marie-France) "I still remember her as the little girl who,
when asking for cookies, would say, "Two is enough" a subtle hint that she wanted
more than one treat."