Sunday, October 17, 2021

French cold case: Former police officer linked to rape, murders

PARIS (WNN) – One of France’s biggest unsolved criminal cases has been cracked down – and a decades-long search for a suspect in at least six rapes and four murders during the 1980s and 1990s has led to a Led by former police officer.

Prosecutors announced late Thursday that the 59-year-old retired officer’s DNA was consistent with genetic traces found at the scene of several crimes in the 1980s and 1990s.

The horrors began with the rape of an 8-year-old girl in 1986 and continued with other rapes, a kidnapping and murder, mostly of underage girls.

After 35 years of excavation, investigators determined the suspect had worked as a linguist in the Paris area between 1986 and 1994, and this week called 750 current or former officers for questioning.

One, identified in French media as Francois V, did not appear and his wife declared him missing, according to a statement from the Paris prosecutor’s office. He was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in an apartment in the Mediterranean seaside resort of Grau-du Roi.

After DNA testing, the prosecutor’s office confirmed that his genetic profile had been found at several crime scenes.

The 8-year-old girl, the first known victim, was approached in the elevator of her building on April 8, 1986 by a man who identified himself as a police officer, then took her to the basement and raped her. strangled. The girl, Sarah, lost consciousness, but did not die.

A month later, an 11-year-old girl named Cecil was raped and murdered in the basement of her Paris apartment building. His half-brother crossed paths with the suspect and told him to investigators, allowing the production of a police sketch that was later hung in several police stations around France.

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But the police had no clue, so the investigation was closed in 1992. In 1996, a new judge reopened the case and ordered a genetic analysis of the evidence, which made it possible to obtain the suspect’s DNA.

The same genetic profile was found in several other cases: the 1987 murder of a 21-year-old German Au Jodi, and that of her employer. In 1987, a 14-year-old girl was raped in Paris. In 1994, an 11-year-old girl was abducted and raped in a forest in the eastern suburb of Paris. and the 1994 murder of a 19-year-old woman in another forest.

Investigators looked in all directions for years but could not find the culprit. The magistrate went ahead, and the others took over the case.

François V actually worked as a gendarme and a police officer, and as a councilor in the city of Predes-le-Lz in southern France.

The prosecutor’s office praised the “courage and determination” of investigator Nathalie Turke, whose efforts to keep the case alive helped bring an answer for the victims’ loved ones.

France’s police network launched a “cold case” unit last year, and a similar effort is underway to promote cooperation across regions and jurisdictions in the justice system.

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