After 2 decades, cold case in Quebec resolved with guilty plea


The family of a woman who was murdered while sunbathing on a Gaspé beach say they are reassured to know that her killer will go to prison two decades later.

Sonia Raymond was visiting the coastal town of Maria, Quebec for a wedding on July 27, 1996, when she decided to soak up the sun on the beach before the event.

The 33-year-old was murdered on the rocky coast of eastern Quebec – a crime that would go unsolved until, surprisingly, her killer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this week.

Superior Court Judge Louis Dionne sentenced Réal Savoie, 54, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 22 years in a New Carlisle courtroom this morning.

“The last three years have been difficult for my whole family. And last year it was even more difficult. And the last two months, very difficult.” says his brother Guylain Raymond.
Guylain Raymond waited more than 20 years to hear that his sister’s killer would go to prison. He said he believed his family would now be able to move on. (Radio-Canada)

The killer approached as she was sunbathing

The pain, shock and horror of what happened came flooding back to Guylain Raymond as he watched Savoie’s trial, which began in March.

Sonia Raymond was visiting Maria from Rimouski and was lying on the beach when her killer approached her and made a sexual advance.

In July 1996, Sonia Raymond was sunbathing on the beach in Maria, Quebec, when she was stabbed to death. (Radio-Canada)

Although police still suspected Savoie, the murder remained unsolved until police conducted an undercover operation 17 years later.

In what has been dubbed a ‘Mr. Big ‘sting, officers impersonated members of a fake crime family in order to extract confessions.

Savoie told officers that when she pushed him away, he went to his truck, grabbed a knife and stabbed her to death in broad daylight.

Savoie had pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge until Wednesday, when he changed his guilty plea just before he was scheduled to testify.

During the trial, the jury also heard from a woman who was six when she saw Savoie squatting over Sonia Raymond on the beach.

She had described Savoie to the police, but a thunderstorm that afternoon swept away all evidence.


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