Attempted murder suspect found dead in charred home


Last Updated: 12th November 2009, 7:44am

The remains of Claude Legare have been found in the charred home he once shared with his ex-girlfriend, police confirmed Wednesday night.


Fire investigators Wednesday found the remains of Claude Legare in the home he once shared with the woman he was accused of trying to kill.

The Ontario Fire Marshal and the OPP forensic identification unit found Legare’s body around 2 p.m. in the charred house on County Rd. 19, just outside Kemptville. An autopsy to determine how he died is expected Thursday morning.

Const. Cathy Lindsey, spokeswoman for Kemptville OPP, declined to say where in the home Legare was found.

“We are continuing with the fire investigation,” Lindsey said, adding that the fire marshal and police expected to stay at the property Thursday.

Ottawa police major crime detectives had been looking for Legare since Friday when his ex-girlfriend, Brenda Van Leyen, was viciously attacked at a Barrhaven Shoppers Drug Mart.

Van Leyen, 47, was there delivering mail for Canada Post when she was stabbed about a dozen times. She’s been recovering in an Ottawa hospital.

Also injured was a 21-year-old man who works at the drug store. He received minor injuries when he tried to stop the attack.

Detectives had an arrest warrant for Legare, 49, on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, attempted kidnapping and three counts of breach of recognizance.

Legare also had charges in Brockville court relating to a separate domestic assault. In September, OPP charged Legare with assault, uttering threats and weapons-related offences. He was released on bail.

Van Leyen’s family said she broke up with Legare about a month ago after he started threatening her.

It’s unknown how long Legare was at the home after the stabbing occurred. Area residents recalled seeing an increased police presence Friday along County Rd. 19 after the pharmacy attack.

A large fire destroyed the home Sunday night. Police had been holding the property as a crime scene because the fire started under suspicious circumstances.

While Ottawa detectives believed Legare was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe registered to Van Leyen, provincial police on Wednesday said the vehicle wasn’t at the property.

Legare’s death could effectively close the stabbing investigation. Ottawa detectives could not be reached Wednesday night.

The Ontario Special Investigation Unit continues to examine a collision involving a pedestrian and a police cruiser, which was responding to the stabbing at the drug store. The pedestrian, who was apparently trying to direct cops to the scene, received serious injuries.