Quebec blogger murdered in Mexico


One of the last pictures published on Renée Wathelet’s blog, En direct des îles. “Jeux d’eau” (“water games”) is from her Flickr page.

A very sad note from the Canadian blogosphere. Thanks to “Monmick”, who sent me this article in French from the Montreal newspaper, La Presse:

Quebec blogger murdered in Mexico

A 60-year-old woman from Quebec was savagely murdered yesterday morning in her apartment on Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Her killer, a 24-year-old man, stabbed her at least 36 times with a knife before being arrested.

Once more, the circumstances have been ignored surrounding the ugly deed which cost the life of Renée Wathelet, who for years had been sailing between Montreal and Mexico.

The victim, born in Belgium, had decided a few months ago to settle down for good on the island, just off the coast of Yucatan.

The murder happened at her apartment, in a condominium complex facing out on the Caribbean Sea.

The suspected killer, José Joaquin Palacios, was arrested on the spot while trying to flee. According to Mexican authorities, he was not intoxicated, but may be suffering from mental health problems. Palacios appears to have claimed to have killed Mme Wathelet for personal reasons. The connections between the victim and her killer have yet to be determined.

Well-known in cyberspace, Renée Wathelet kept at least two personal blogs, and, and was a fixture on Twitter and Facebook.

The news of her death has shaken those close to her, and many members of the blogging community.

The mother of three had worked as a financial advisor. In Mexico, she was dedicated to her blogs, as well as looking after stray animals with a veterinarian friend.

This morning, one of the victim’s sons prepared to leave for Mexico. According to him, his mother had interrupted a break-in as it happened. “She was a marvellous person, devoted to everyone, a pacifist. I’m going to carry out her last wishes,” said her son, visibly shaken by the senseless-seeming crime.

Renée Wathelet had asked that her ashes be scattered over the sea. Passionate about her travels, the sea, and swimming, she had decided to put down roots in Mexico because of the sun and the warmth of the people, her son said.

The last contact he had had with his mother was a few days ago, when she sent him a picture taken September 15.

The death of Renée Wathelet has created a shock wave through the blogging community. “If there is one truly kind person in the blogging world, it’s her. She is something like a spiritual mother to bloggers,” said Michelle Blanc. She and her friends had organized a little celebration for Wathelet at her apartment in Outremont just before her departure for Mexico. “We are really in shock,” Blanc said.

“I knew her as a super-humanistic person. She cared a lot about animals. I can’t understand how anyone could break into her place and kill her. It’s really horrible!” said Cécile Gladel, an independent journalist and blogger, who reported the death of her friend on her blogue,

Just before having been killed, Renée Wathelet published an entry on her blog,, about the beach she loved. “Lost in thought, I arrive at the little cove where every morning, I take time to take time. A moment in which I can attune my breathing to the rhythm of the waves; a moment in which I look to the north, towards Montréal–hello everyone, yes I think of you every morning!”

About an hour later, she whom her friends called “the nomad”, lost her life.

The suspected killer is in jail, and the police are continuing their investigation.

Translation mine.


My thoughts go out to all she left behind. You are her footprints on the sand.

Blessed be the name of Renée, now and always.

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One Response to Quebec blogger murdered in Mexico

  1. deBeauxOs says:

    That was beautiful and powerful Sabina. Merci.

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