UPDATE: Matthew Besner’s Body Discovered

I am sure most of you by now have read or heard about the young man, Matthew Besner, 27, who went missing early Sunday morning. Because I am a Montreal Blogger, I have been asked to post this in hopes Matthew will be found safe and unharmed. Matthew Besner was eating at a restaurant on St. Alexis St., near Notre Dame St., in Montreal on Saturday evening when he went out for a cigarette. He never returned to the table.

Besner was wearing a black Canada goose coat when he disappeared, along with a black long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans. He is described as 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds, with light brown hair and brown eyes.

I just left the gym, where his cousin was putting up posters everywhere. Our community is frantically looking for this boy, who is described as someone who would not typically walk out on family and friends without warning.

“Besner was last seen at L’Orignal, a restaurant in Old Montreal on St. Alexis St., near the corner of Notre Dame St. W. He was there to celebrate a friend’s birthday and he had stepped out to get a breath of fresh air as his group of friends was preparing to leave. Victoria Liverman (Besner’s cousin) said that someone in the group of friends sent Besner a text message, informing him that their ride had arrived. She said he sent the friend a reply, indicating he was still outside the restaurant. But when the group exited L’Orignal, Besner was gone.” — Montreal Gazette

Besner does not have a criminal record and is not known to be suffering any mental health problems. There is currently a search underway, 150 volunteers who have been working around the clock scouting Old Montreal with a fine tooth comb. The company where Besner’s girlfriend works, Beyond the Rack, has offered a $5,000 reward for information that would lead to locating the young man.

A friend of his has asked me to post the following three things if you are asking how you can help. These are his words, as he stated, in order of importance and efficacy:

  1. Join our search party. The efforts are being coordinated at 60 de Bresoles #302 (corner St Sulpice, #905 to buzz in), so people should feel free to drop by there for more info on how they can best contribute to the search efforts.
  2. Put up the latest versions of the posters, which offer a reward. Post these everywhere from the old port to the west island. We want people to recognize his face. The posters can be found in the Facebook group.
  3. Invite everyone you can to this Facebook group, so that we can communicate updates and further instructions on how to help.
  4. I am simply doing my part. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. My husband and I could hardly sleep last night. Matthew was on our minds all night.  Matthew’s sister is a preschool teacher in the class next to my little son, and when I dropped my son off this morning, the whole preschool was in shock.

    Please readers, please pray for the safe return of Matthew Besner.

    =========================================================

    UPDATE:

    MONTREAL – Police have confirmed the body found this morning near the Five Roses Flour mill is that of Matthew Besner, 27. His body was discovered on the shore of the Lachine Canal near Mill St. At a morning news conference, police said there were signs that Besner had crossed from the north side of the canal to the south side of the canal and fell at least twice. It appears Besner was able to get up but fell again. His body showed no signs of violence and nothing was missing from his wallet. Besner had vanished mysteriously Sunday night from outside an Old Montreal restaurant. — (Montreal Gazette)

    Dec. 22, 2010 UPDATE: Matthew Besner’s final moments were a desperate struggle to survive as he crossed the frozen Lachine Canal and fell through the ice at least twice before collapsing on the shore on the other side, police say. Police said footprints in the snow on the north side of the canal near de la Commune St. indicate that he walked toward the canal, and the broken ice showed he fell through two or three times before making it to the shore. “Once he got to the shore he wasn’t able to get up” the slope, Montreal police Constable Daniel Lacoursiere said. “Nothing indicates there was a crime. He was wet; he froze.” The body bore no signs of violence and nothing was missing from his wallet, police said. Besner was dressed in the same clothes he wore when he disappeared -a Canada goose jacket, black shirt and jeans. Lacoursiere would not speculate about whether Besner was alone before crossing the canal or what his state of mind might have been. He said police yesterday were not looking into the possibility Besner might have been pushed into the canal. An autopsy should determine the exact cause of death, he added. — (Montreal Gazette)

    Dec. 23, 2010 UPDATE: The family of Matthew Besner has viewed security camera video footage showing him in the hours after his friends last saw him early Sunday. In a TV interview with TVA commentator Claude Poirier Thursday morning, a store employee who did not give his name on air said he saw Besner enter his store in the vicinity of Brennan St. not far from Wellington St. between 4:45 a.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday. “He was very confused and asking for directions to get to Verdun,” the man told Poirier. There is apparently video of the encounter. The man said he saw Besner, who lived in an apartment on Pine Ave., fall down at least twice and his pants were snow-covered. “It was strange to see,” he told Poirier. The store employee later realized Besner was on foot, and not in a car. As the man left his place of work after his shift ended at 5 a.m., he saw Besner walking. “I wish I had picked him up.” In an interview with The Gazette Thursday, Joshua Chinks, the brother of Besner’s girlfriend – and who was with Besner the night he disappeared – strongly disagreed with the description of Besner as so intoxicated he could not walk straight. He said the family has been working with private investigators and has viewed some of the security video but the footage is not very clear. “Something suspicious happened,” Chinks said. “It’s not in (Besner’s) character to wander off, even if he had been drinking. That doesn’t explain why he was walking around Old Montreal for two hours.” Besner had nearly $200 in cash on him when he was found, Chinks added. “He could have taken a taxi if he wanted to get somewhere. Why would he go over a six-foot concrete ledge to cross the canal?”  Chinks urged people who have store security video of Besner to come forward and call Montreal police on the Info-Crime line at 514-393-1133. -(Montreal Gazette)

    Dec. 24, 2010 UPDATE: “Something suspicious happened,” Joshua Chinks, the brother of Besner’s girlfriend, said Thursday, a few hours before Besner’s funeral. Chinks was with Besner at the restaurant that night. He strongly denied that Besner, whom he described as his brother-in-law, was so intoxicated that night that he couldn’t walk straight. “It’s my profession, as an emergency room doctor, to know what people who are drunk or high on drugs look like and act (like),” Chinks said. “This wasn’t the case.” Besner was drinking, Chinks said, but not enough to cause him to behave unpredictably. Besner received a text message while he was outside and he replied, spelling his answer perfectly, Chinks added. “He knew very clearly that he was waiting for a ride home. His girlfriend was at home and he was in my hands.” “So far nothing leads us to believe there was anything criminal here,” Lemieux said. “His death was accidental.”  Chinks urged police to re-examine the possibility that foul play was involved in Besner’s death. “It won’t bring Matthew back, but it might explain things,” he said. An autopsy on Besner’s body has been completed, but results of lab tests will not be known for weeks, possibly until a coroner’s report is issued. —(Montreal Gazette)

    Feb 18, 2011 UPDATE: Besner had stepped out to get a breath of fresh air as his friends were preparing to leave at about 2:40 a.m. Friends said he took his last beverage at 2 a.m. Coroner Paul Dionne’s report states that Besner died from exposure to the cold, and that the body bore no marks of violence. Besner’s blood alcohol level came in at 0.26 per cent, over three times the legal driving limit of 0.08 per cent. There were no drugs in his system. The cold weather that night, combined with the amount of alcohol he had consumed, would have severely impaired Besner’s ability to orient himself, Dionne said. He was seen sitting alone on a bench in front of the restaurant, presumably awaiting his designated driver. That was the last time anyone saw Besner alive. A friend sent him a text message and he replied that he was outside the restaurant. But when the group came to get him, he was already gone. Not only does alcohol provoke a disorienting effect, Dionne explained, but at high consumption it accelerates hypothermia, which contributes to confusion and disorientation. Often, victims of hypothermia do not recognize the early stages. Later, as hypothermia progresses and the body can no longer regulate its temperature, blood vessels become restricted and co-ordination impaired, and confused victims stagger as if drunk. The mix of cold and alcohol proved lethal for Besner, the coroner said. Someone would have to be “binge drinking” to reach a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 per cent, said Sonia Duguay of Educ’alcool, a non-profit group that advocates responsible drinking. “That’s a severe intoxication of someone drinking one drink after another,” Duguay said. Dionne’s ruling of accidental death supports what police had said since the beginning of their investigation: Besner apparently fell into the canal and probably froze to death as a result. But the young man’s family, who were not available for comment yesterday, have said they believe there is more the story. Relatives said they viewed security camera footage of Besner, taken in the hours after he vanished, that raises doubts about how he died. The security video, reportedly taken from several locations in and around Old Montreal in the hours after Besner’s disappearance, shows him staggering, confused and asking for help. -(Montreal Gazette)

60 Comments
  1. Oh my God how devastating. What a tragedy and loss for this family. My thoughts go out to the entire Besner family. What a horrible ending to what was at one time hope.

  2. I am so sad for this man and his family. I am even sadder for our city. We have been living in a city
    with a false sense of security. We think that Montreal is so safe. Apparently not!!!!
    My condolences to his family and friends.

  3. I am so so sorry for the Besner family, his girlfriend, for everyone who knew him. My heart breaks for you; I am so sorry. Erin

    1. Why insult him? The only thing you are doing is hurting those you cared about him. if you had people who cared about you, you might be more sympathetic.

  4. What a tragic accident and a terrible loss at such young age. My condolances and sympathy goes out to the entire Besner family and close friends. May he RIP.

  5. ONLY MATHEW KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED……SOMETHING WAS BOTHERING HIM INSIDE…SO DEEP THAT HE JUST COULD NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE…HE WANTED TO END THE PAIN??????????
    IF THAT WAS THE CASE LET THIS BE AN EYE OPENER TO ALL OF US…WHAT EVER WE ARE GOING THROUGH THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP US….
    R I P MATHEW WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU….
    REMEMBER NO ONE WITH A CLEAR MIND WOULD EVER DO THIS EVER.

    1. If any of you knew Matthew you would know he was not suicidial. He did not do any drugs. He was not drunk. He was the type of person if someone came along and asked for directions in a car he would go over and help them. Some how some one or something got him off the bench. It stinks of foul play. I can give any answers yet because I have none. Matthew was a happy well adjusted young man with lots of plans for his future. If anyone was around that area and knows anything please contact the family. The police seem to have wanted to just wash it under the rug. This was not just an accident. He would never go near water unless he was not in his right head…
      Someone who loved him dearly

  6. The family needs answers. The video surveillance is helping. It seems like the police, who were quick to say there was no foul play, are not cooperating with the family, in terms of sharing surveillance video etc. His behaviour was totally bizarre, which could possibly be explained by drugs, extreme alcohol intoxication, a severe sudden reaction to a combination of substances that were taken together, a mental break, or something nefarious, or a combination thereof. No one could have seen this coming and I know the police wouldn’t have started a search for him that morning anyway but if people had been out there looking everywhere in the vicinity as soon as they couldn’t find him, they may have found him. Apparently, he was wandering for hours in the area. This must serve as a lesson to all of us to expect the worst and hope for the best and act accordingly immediately. I happened to be at another funeral today and even though it was moving in its own right, I couldn’t help thinking about his funeral today and him and his family. This is just a heartbreaking tragedy.

  7. THss is horrible my heart goes out to the familyand friends; my deepest sympathies. This story does not add up this young man was 100 percent a victim. Of what I hope we find out. All you ignorant fools saying he was drunk and it was an accident you have to be on crack. As drunk as I can ever be iIwould never cross a canal. There is all this talk os smiley face killers etc…. I dont know what to make of this but this young man had something to happen to him. I wish the family peace but any detective taht says this is an accident is a morron.

  8. I am from mtl and there seems to be a new trend of drugs in clubs and restaurant. Would it be possible he was accidentally drugged with rufies at the place. Texted while the effect was kicking in and left when it started? A guy friend of mine was drugged unpurposely when he drank from the wrong glass. His first instinct was to go outside for air because he wasn’t feeling good and then walked away to puke. We had a friend follow him but maybe bad timing made besner not have that luck.. This is obviously just my own idea of what could have happened..

  9. I may not have known the victim or the family but I do sympathize with all who did know him. I do agree with fact this is foul play. The speculation that it is not is understandable do to the lack of any physical evidence but it takes more than that to prove murder as a majority of murder cases go unsolved for that same reason, no physical evidence but that does not mean it was not murder.

    I would like to offer my opinion on one of my ideas. yes I am not a professional investigator and I am probably to young have my opinion valued by most but I can’t just sit here so this is my idea of a profile I created based on the information above. I will also update it once I read about the autopsy and toxicology results. There is also some guess work as I am basically working with no info as I have not been to the crime scene have only victim with know physcial evidence aka proof of a weapon no trauma and no confirmed poisons.

    Basically I believe it to be a white male. In all cases people generally target the same race except in gang fights and inter racial sex crimes. As well as same sex in the case of non rape homicides.

    Aged early 30’s-40’s possibly 50’s but highly unlikely. In this type of case homicide on males in this age group tend to be approximately the same age. But I would concider early 30s or even 40’s because of how well this plan was executed. No physial evidence to concider the possibility of murder at all. No clear witnesses and the efficiency of his attack. He was in a public area only alone for a brief period of time and there was no sign of a struggle of any kind. It is just to efficient for beginners who have never done this before. And typically a person begins killing in late 20’s possibly early 30’s if they start at all. this is only the case in this particular type of crime.

    Which leads me to my next idea he has a criminal record. If someone is this good they most definitely are not first timers but as everyone knows when you start out you are never as good after practicing in any situation. So it is possible this man was caught before probably on a lesser charge involving a similar type of case. Such as robbery or other petty crimes. Possibly even abduction. Remember this is just a starting hypothesis till more information is available.

    I also believe this man is working alone. Again this is just typically the case in this type of homicide. What I mean by this type I mean single male murders excluding gang and drug relations and I believe neither of those is the case as this is way to complex and organized. Also a team approaching a man outside a restaurant draws more attention than 1 person approaching another.
    It would be more helpful if I could see the security footage but I do not have the authority to do so.

    I believe this man is local. I base this on 2 facts. At this time tourists tend to head to places of warmer climits like florida miami so on so on. So the idea of a tourist at this time of year not unheard of certainly not impossible just less likely. Another thought this man knew a good location where he can approach a victim with a good chance not being noticed even though its public. Even if this is easy for even tourists to figure out that less people are out at that time of night. The level of confidents this person had to be this careful and leave so little evidence they must comfortable in the area so they are most likely local.

    I also believe the man is signle based on the idea of what I think occured during matthews final moments though I could have done a much better job if the time of the recording was announced so I can compare it to witness sitings at the depanneur on camera.

    Let us say the recording occured after the siting at the dep as I do not know the exact time line of the recording of the confrontation. Anyways I believe he was approached held at gun point as men are less likely to scream out when cofronted with a gun in comparison to being confronted with a knife. I believe he was poisoned or drugged atleast. As the descryption of his behaviour does not sound like the effects of hypothermia which is the illegid cause of death or the effects of alchohol or drug I have ever heard of. he is texting with perfect spelling so hes probably not drunk. If your high or stoned whatever you do not walk around asking for directions to a place you know you are not going as he was texting about his ride home. Plus the fact if he was heading somewhere with money he could have gotten a cab instead of walking such a rediculous distance to Verdun as well as take a route like crossing over the river. Its completely obserd. So to continue he was poisoned or drugged stumbled around in random directions as he was probably lacking mental or physcial control by that time. He was probably seeking help and thats why he would make so many attempts to cross the river even though he failed multiple times. Clearly such a move was an act of desperation as normally even a drunk would stop after once or even twice. He eventually failed enough times where his body could not continue and the cold or the poison if he was poisoned eventually killed him.

    But why would the killer poison him and let him go. What I believe is that the killer is sadisctic killer who poisoned him and let him go knowing that he would slowly die without being able to get help and matthew would have to face the fact he would slowly die alone with no help by himself which is why he was desperate for help. I find that to be a very sadistic way to kill someone. And someone this sadistic probably does not have the ability to have love for others so he probably is not married and very few friends. Even if he was just drugged it is possible that he could have simply wondered to the river and died of hypothermia but if that was the case it does not sound like a sadistic killer it sounds like someone just practicing. Starting with drugging someone and working up to murder and in fact this could might have simply been a test run for this man.

    Either way a practice run or a killer who could go serial or already has neither has a positive side. And as I said I will update as new information comes in.

    Anyways I would love for all readers to comment. Either supporters who agree with me or recommendations if you have any other ideas that I could include into the profile, any ideas from age to theories of reasoning etc. We have the same goal to help this man and his family.

    Thank You.

  10. And something else I forgot to add in my previous profile if the killer used a drug or poison that cannot be traced in the body or is difficult to get a hold of they might have medical training so career possibilities are male nurse pharmacist doctor surgeon or even er doctor. In the case where my theory of a sadistic killer if it is correct the man probably works in a medical area where they get to deal with people in pain or suffering. Such as working in the ER or a nurse. It would not be someone who heals them merely tends to them as this person would enjoy peoples pain not want to heal it. This type of person would not be interested in the patient as much as their pain. But he would not try to help merely ask how bad is it hurting how are you feeling, merely comforting someone but with no encouragement or positive feeling.

  11. That’s quite a mouthful Derek, 2 mouthfuls actually. So far, it seems he was lucid enough to send a perfectly spelled text as he left the restaurant after drinking and in the middle of the night (which is more than certain bloggers on this site are capable of doing sober – just sayin’ Derek-there is built-in spell check here…). Then, according to the eyewitness and camera footage, he was wandering, falling and staggering aimlessly towards Verdun. It seems pretty reasonable to assume that something or someone kicked in in the interim to render him utterly senseless. That’s the missing link here. Did this happen just before he exited the restaurant, which is why he may have wanted air (because whatever entered his system, by his own hand or a sip of someone’s drink or poisoning-food or other), just after he exited, or when he was completely away from the restaurant? Was he secretly suicidal and ingested something to end it all but it didn’t go as planned and he was left senseless to meet this unexpected end? One thing, Derek, that I would not spend a nanosecond on at this point is the motivation of the killer, if there is one. Pick one, any one. Sometimes people kill at random just because of some misdirected rage or frustration in life. One last point. I was speaking about this to someone the other day who worked his whole life in the justice system and he told me that Quebec, as opposed to other provinces and I am sure many of the US states, lags way, way behind, in terms of manpower and expertise in forensic toxicology. I hope the family looks into this and goes elsewhere for a second or third opinion, a la Michael Baden, forensic specialist in NY State or Cyril Wecht also such an expert out of PA. or somewhere else in the Northeast, if necessary. They just need to leave no stone unturned in the event the autopsy doesn’t provide definitive, conclusive answers.

  12. Zacrisi do you make an interesting point. We do need a third opinion from someone besides family and local police. We should also gain assistance from someone with better technology in toxicology etc.

    Though are are some problems in your idea. It was most likely not an angry pedestrian who was just looking for a random victim. It is true this does happen but these kills are typically spontaneous disorganized and violent. In this case none of that is present.

    That also discludes the idea when he was confronted he was beaten as their was no physical trauma.

    Also yes it is to early to make assumptions about the case as their is still to many missing links. As for your comment on my comment about focusing to much on the motive as it is to early in the case.I am merely looking at motive in combination with the style strategy and planning and all other aspects to narrow down the type of person who could have done this. And of course either theory could be wrong which is why I am asking for everyone to throw their ideas out there. Someone might have the right idea.

    Anyways Zacrisi your ideas theories and opinions are important and so keep your ideas coming same with everyone.

    I do hope people continue to work on the case. Their are some people who called my efforts pointless but I believe if everyone worked together we can solve this case.

    Thank you everyone who is helping and let are hopes go out to the family and may matthew rest in peace. Merry Christmas Everyone.

  13. Ok, I believe the missing part of the story is that he met with someone before the walk/disorientation. Friend, acquintance or stranger? Picked up in a car to talk possibly? Given something, then dropped off/kicked out of car. Looking for Verdun because of disorientation? Told someoen would be there? No cab driver would let him in bc he was disoriented? This isall my feelings on this…not based on facts for now…we’ll see what the autopsy says.

  14. That sounds like a possibility. Though he would have not gotten into another person’s car as he already had a planned ride home. The idea he was forced into someones car drugged and kicked out I can agree as a possibility.

    1. Could be someone he knew. He just gets in the car to talk and things don’t go as planned. I’m not very confident that this was someone he didn’t know. Would have to be excellent timing. I’m not passed the idea he was given something in the resto either; that person would have picked around 3am to give him something because they know it’s closing time and they won’t have to be around him. A joke maybe? So many possibilities. I’m certain that he has help in the whole wandering around in old Montreal. The story of him just walking off and ‘becoming’ intoxiated after he leaves doesn’t add up at all. People assume that women are the only victims of date rape drugs. I think something is going on with males + date rape drugs and it just hasn’t been uncovered…yet.

      1. Yes the timing is to convenient but I have ideas to explain that. One the killer or whomever abducted or attacked matthew was waiting in that general area looking for a victim of oppertunity and matthew was the first person to present himself. Basically straight up bad timing on matthews part. Another theory the attacker knew matthew personally and new where he was going to be but this is less likely. Mainly because if they knew where he was going to be they probably knew he was with friends so he was not alone. They could not have predicted the cigarette break which he took that seperated himself from everyone.

        The idea that this was a prank again I disagree drugging someone and/or abandoning them does not sound like a prank plus if it was it would probably not be this complicated and/or organized.

        I am doubtful he was the victim of date rape drugs though I agree it is possible for men to be the victim of this scenario. I can’t confirm this theory until the autopsy comes back. It is possible he was drugged then raped I’m just doubtful to that idea.

        I do agree though that it does not make sense he became intoxicated after leaving. This does not make sense at all.

        Though I believe if he was drugged he was not assisted in walking around old montreal because that would give more oppertunity for witnesses and of course the current witnesses shops owners and whomever else has not confirmed a 2nd person while he was walking.

        Though your just speculating ideas here I am sure everyone appreciates your efforts. I know I do and keep your ideas coming. Same thing for anyone else who reads this.

  15. He did drugs on his own, had a bad reaction and disappeared. He was disoriented when he happened across the canal….too late to do anything.

    1. Your theory is possible but not likely. He could have done drugs but according to the info i have heard through a friend of the family he did not do drugs of any sort. And I am sorry but that is a very cold thing to say, too to do anything. No one deserves to just be forgotten like that without the case being looked at.

      Just to clarify I am not calling you wrong just saying that’s a very cold way to put things. As mentioned by almost everyone who commented let us wait for the autopsy results before jumping to conclusions.

        1. oh ok dude my mistake. That idea wasn’t very clearly presented. And ya I am kinda serious on this topic its just I’m preparing myself before I start taking psychology/criminology so I am just practicing. Sorry if I came on to serious.

  16. Why does the CBC news state that Joshua Chinx is the boyfriend of Besners sister… but now here,Quoted from MontrealGazette, they say that he is the brother of besners girlfriend.
    Does this suggest what I think it does or did one new report make an error?

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