September 23, 2012

02/27/12: Mathieu LeClair, 20, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Mathieu LeClair
Mathieu LeClair, 20, a cadet studying engineering at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, was reported missing on Monday, February 27, 2012.

Two days later, on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, LeClair's body was recovered from the waters of Lake Ontario near the expansive campus.

The National Investigation Service, which has jurisdiction over military personnel on Canadian Forces' properties, is investigating the death. Capt. Karina Holder, spokeswoman for the National Investigation Service, told the Journal, "foul play is not suspected, the investigation remains ongoing, and no details as to the cause of death may be released at this time."

CBS News reported, "The military says it may never confirm what happened at the request of LeClair's family."

New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal stated, "LeClair's death is an eerie reminder of the 2003 disappearance of RMC cadet Joe Grozelle. The 21-year-old's body was found on the shore of the Cataraqui River not far from the college three weeks after he went missing. The investigation of his death went on for years and resulted in a 2008 coroner's inquest, which failed to determined how and when he died."

About Mathieu LeClair

LeClair's mother, Mireille Basque, told the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal that her son was "driven," and hard working and had wanted to join the Air Force since he was a young child. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in his hometown of Saint John, NB, when he was 12 years old.

She said he was disciplined, ambitious and organized from a young age.

"I never had to worry about homework or his uniform being ready for Cadets. There was never an issue," she said.

LeClair was part of Simonds Squadron #527 and was still very young when he announced to his mother that he wanted to go to the Royal Military College to be in the Air Force. While in the Cadets, he rose to the title of Warrant Officer II Band Leader and was selected for an International Cadet Exchange Program where he traveled to Washington DC and Texas. He remained in the program throughout high school, in addition to playing high school basketball and being involved in drama.

"He was involved in everything," Basque told the Journal. "He was always in a good mood and he wanted people to be happy."

He graduated from Simonds High School in 2009 and was awarded an $80,000 Cadet Scholarship to attend Royal Military College. LeClair was in the process of completing his third year in an engineering program and was a member of the school's basketball team.

Capt. Peter Smith, who met LeClair in the Air Cadets, described him as an exceptional young man with tremendous potential.

“He was so young and such a bright future. Such a good person, such a good caring kid who had such great leadership, it was a shock,” he told CBS News.

According to his obituary, Mathieu is survived by his parents Mireille Basque and Danny LeClair, stepmother Gladys, and two brothers, plus many friends and family members who will miss him dearly.

"He had eyes that sparkled brightly and a big beautiful smile. He was kind and generous to all. Many were aware of this young man’s presence. He was an extremely social person and a gifted athlete. He loved his family and always enjoyed any special holiday spent at Mémére’s house...Mathieu was a dedicated and an extremely hard worker who would always go the extra mile for an employer. Mathieu was a tremendously bright and gifted young man who touched many lives. A life that touches others is a life that will go on forever. Mathieu will live on in us and in our memories with great love and much fondness. Mathieu was a very, very special young Man."

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated from St. Joachim’s Church in Saint John on March 5, 2012 with Interment at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Upper Golden Grove, NB.

Donations to the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Simonds Squadron #527 or P.R.O. Kids would be appreciated by the family.

Case Details

Name/age: Mathieu LeClair, 20, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Hometown: St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
College: Royal Military College
Last Seen: 02/27/12
Physical Description: 6'1," 190 pounds
Recovered: 02/29/12
Investigating Agency: National Investigation Service


Pritchett, Jennifer (2012, February 29). N.B. student's body pulled from Lake Ontario. New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. Retrieved September 23, 2012 from

Staff Writer. (2012, March 6). Hundreds attend funeral for RMC cadet. CBC News. Retrieved September 23, 2012 from

Staff Writer, n.d. Mathieu LeClair Obituary and Death Notice.The Daily Gleaner Telegraph-Journal. Retrieved September 23, 2012 from

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