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I travelled to Dominica to learn what happened to Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand

SOUFRIERE, Dominica -

In December of 2023, I learned of the brutal murders of two beloved Montrealers, who were well known and admired in Quebec’s creative circles.

Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand may not have been household names throughout Canada, but their achievements and projects received worldwide attention and recognition.

In the 1980s, Langlois created groundbreaking tools for animation and visual effects. He brought human emotion to the big screen through animated characters, as some of the tools he developed were used to create visual effects in films like "The Matrix" and "Jurassic Park."

His vision generated tremendous excitement for filmmakers and software companies. Langlois eventually sold his company, Softimage, in 1994 and went on to invest his US$130 million earnings into many creative and environmental endeavours.

He was awarded a Scientific and Technical Oscar and named to the Order of Canada.

W5 travels to Dominica to investigate the brutal murders of Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand -- two beloved Montrealers who were well known and admired in Quebec’s creative circles (Source: Daniel Langlois Foundation)

In the days that followed their murders, I reported on the violent and tragic circumstances surrounding their deaths, though there were many questions left unanswered.

This prompted a CTV W5 investigation and ultimately my travel to the lush Caribbean island of Dominica in February 2024, with a producer and cameraman.

We arrived on a Sunday, marking the beginning of a Carnival celebration. Loud thumping music and people in colourful costumes dancing filled the streets as I made my way across the island, after a long flight, a stopover in Barbados and a drive from the airport along winding roads.

I was immediately struck by the rugged landscape and the sight of those who had come to visit, including divers, hikers and kayakers. The island truly is an adventure seekers’ paradise.

Everyone seemed to know something

When we started to ask people about the murder investigation and what happened to Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand, two things quickly became evident: one, everyone knew them and of their dream project, Coulibri Ridge, a sustainable eco-resort with 14 luxury suites in the volcanic hills above the southern coastal village of Soufriere; and two, everyone knew there had been a bitter feud over a public road that led to the resort.

Many of the details are found in a 2018 court case, in the wake of American millionaire Jonathan Lehrer’s efforts to block access on the road with boulders and a trench. Lehrer was frustrated that this public road passed right through his 18th century property. Langlois won that court case and access to his resort.

Everyone we encountered in Dominica, an island of just 70,000 people, seemed to know something, including the driver in our taxi, a hotel attendant, a dive shop owner, even someone who ran a guest house in Soufriere.

This is how we came to learn of a German tourist who had come to Dominica for a yoga and freediving retreat in November of 2023. He had been on a hike the day Langlois and Marchand disappeared: Nov. 30, 2023.

He agreed to speak to us by phone about his encounters, and told us that when he approached Lehrer’s property -- a sprawling heritage estate that used to be a cocoa and coffee plantation -- he was turned away. Thomas, whose full name we've withheld at his request, recounted the conversation. “He said I can't pass. This is private property. I have to go back,” he told CTV W5.

Genevieve Beauchemin speaks with Thomas by phone about what happened when he approached Lehrer’s property (CTV W5).

Thomas said he diverted and found another route, and it was from there that he heard gun shots.

“When I was covered by the trees, I heard shootings, so, like, twice or triple time, double shooting. So, like, from a pistol, or from a gun,” he said.

After he turned and tried to find a new hiking road altogether, he encountered a man who yelled and told him to leave again. Less than an hour later, he told me about what he saw and heard from the lower village of Soufriere: “I saw black smoke. I heard explosions, two explosions, very loud. So for me, it was like dynamite."

The bodies of Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand were found in a burnt vehicle in December of 2023 (Source: St. Vincent Times)

The German tourist identified the man he last encountered was Robert Snyder Jr.

We learned Snyder had just arrived in Dominica two weeks before the murders and was staying with Jonathan Lehrer.

The two American men have now been charged in the murders.

Police photos of Jonathan Lehrer (left) and Robert Snyder Jr. (Supplied)

While investigating leads on the island we also learned of a local farmer who walked the public road between Lehrer’s property and the Coulibri Ridge resort.

We waited on the contentious road to see if Neville Henderson would speak to us at the end of his work day and he offered to share many of his own experiences.

Neville Henderson speaks with CTV W5 on the contentious road.

He told our producer, “it was a nightmare. It was a nightmare. It was a continual thing, mostly every day… they just didn't want anybody to pass on that particular road because they're thinking it's part of their property, but it was never a part of their property, it was a public road. “

He also told us that he warned police that passing on the road had become a terrifying ordeal and shared a video of one such incident involving the accused American’s wife, Victoria Lehrer.

We learned many more things on the island, seeking answers from local authorities and grasping the desperate hope by friends that there will be justice for Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand.

We also learned of the determination to keep their legacy alive, to carry on with their projects, including keeping Coulibri Ridge open to guests.

Watch W5's documentary 'The Millionaire Murders'  in our video player at the top of this article Top Stories

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