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American chocolate maker Jonathan Lehrer and his wife are among four detained after millionaire software engineer Daniel Langlois and his partner ‘ambushed by hitman’ and killed in burning car

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An American couple are among four people being questioned by cops after a millionaire software developer and his partner were killed in the Caribbean.

Daniel Langlois, 66, and Dominique Marchand, both from Quebec, were found dead inside a charred vehicle near the eco-resort they owned on Dominica on Friday.

Langlois is known as the founder of Softimage, which created 3D animations software for movies like Jurassic Park, Men in Black and Star Wars.

The couple’s neighbors Jonathan Lehrer, 57, and his wife, who own and operate chocolate makers Bois Collette Inc, are being questioned by police, according to Radio-Canada. They have not been charged with any crimes.

Langlois and Marchand, who ran the Coulibri Ridge Resort, were ‘ambushed’ by a hit man who killed them and then set their car on fire, Dominica police said.

Langlois and Lehrer had been involved in a dispute over the usage of the Morne Rouge Public Road, which passes through the chocolatier’s estate.

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The battle reached the island’s state highest court, which ruled in 2019 that the road was public and could be freely used by Langlois’ guests.

Daniel Langlois, 66, and his partner were found dead after they went missing on Friday 

Langlois ran an eco-resort on the Caribbean island with his partner Dominique Marchand

Langlois ran an eco-resort on the Caribbean island with his partner Dominique Marchand

Dominica police said the intense fire in the car made identifying the bodies impossible

Dominica police said the intense fire in the car made identifying the bodies impossible

DailyMail.com has reached out to Dominica police for comment on this story.

In court documents from 2019 seen by DailyMail.com, Langlois accused Lehrer of causing interference with the unobstructed and free use of the public road’ for at least four years.

On one occasion Lehrer reportedly ‘blocked the road by placing boulders across the road, digging a trench across the said road, erecting metal pipes and placing equipment and supplies on the road denying the claimants and their employees access to their property.’

A local report from 2018 says a protest was staged on the road after ‘a land owner from Bois Cutlette’ blocked it. 

Dominica News Online said: ‘The residents, most of whom are employees at Petite Coulibri, have been unable to pass safely to get to work, and decided to protest the action of the land owner.’

A protest on the contested road between the two estates can be seen in this image from 2019

A protest on the contested road between the two estates can be seen in this image from 2019

The Daniel Langlois Foundation confirmed on Monday that Langlous and Blanchard died ‘in tragic circumstances.’ 

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National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmor said: ‘Crimes like this do not only hurt international relations, but this crime in particular, has sent shock waves throughout the island and left the employees, families, and communities of the victims in mourning.’

Global Affairs Canada acknowledged the deaths of two Canadian citizens on the island but has not named them.

‘Canadian officials continue to monitor the situation closely, are engaging with local authorities and providing consular assistance. Due to privacy considerations, no further information can be disclosed,’ the office said.

Dominica police said the intense fire in the car made identifying the bodies impossible, and they are relying on ‘circumstantial evidence to connect them to the missing couple.’ 

Dominica local Jacqueline Dupigny told DailyMail.com the Canadian couple was beloved in the island and would be greatly missed. 

She said: ‘The sweetest foreigners to set foot on this island. They were exemplary stewards of the land around them and to their staff they treated them with so much respect.

The entrepreneur sold his software company to Microsoft in 1994 for $200 million and went on to found the Daniel Langlois Foundation for the Art, Sciences and Technology. 

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In October 2022 the couple opened a luxury, off-the-grid resort, Coulibri Ridge, on 200 acres of land on the island

In October 2022 the couple opened a luxury, off-the-grid resort, Coulibri Ridge, on 200 acres of land on the island

In October 2022 he and Marchand opened a luxury, off-the-grid resort, Coulibri Ridge, on 200 acres of land on the island, which is located between Guadeloupe and Martinique. 

They reportedly worked on the project for 20 years. 

Langlois was beloved in Canada and Dominica, with many honoring him on social media following reports of his death.

Canada’s minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge wrote: ‘Daniel Langlois, a visionary in digital technologies and cinema, has left us. His legacy reflects his innovative spirit. My thoughts are with his loved ones.’

Travel writer Jim Byers wrote on X: ‘Shocked and devastated to hear the news of the deaths of Canadian businessman/visionary Daniel Langlois and his wife, Dominique Marchand. They built the incredible Coulibri Ridge resort on Dominica and had me for a tour and lunch in January. So sad.’

And fan Paul Chato added: ‘Daniel Langlois has been found dead in the Dominican Republic. For those who are 3D animators, Langlois pioneered SoftImage 3D, the most advanced character animation software of its time. Reboot was produced with it as was the dinosaur in Jurassic Park. Sad.’

On November 3, the government of Dominica gave Langlois a ‘Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to sustainable development and research projects,’ as reported by Dominica News Online.

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Langlois was a dual Canadian-Dominican citizen.

Source: Daily Mail

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