The suicide of a former police officer ends 35 years of French serial killer hunting

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A former police officer suspected of being the serial killer behind some of France’s oldest unsolved cases has been found dead after 35 years of dodging arrest, as police draw closer to his identity.

François Vérove, 59, committed suicide in his rented house in the south of France after receiving a summons for questioning, leaving a “written statement” and with DNA evidence then confirming his identity, the Paris prosecutor said. and sources.

The man, nicknamed “The Hail“(” marked “), had been wanted by police since the 1980s for the murder and rape of young girls, but has never been arrested.

The list of crimes he allegedly committed in the ’80s and’ 90s includes rape of minors, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping of minors, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Thursday. in a press release.

“The DNA tests which were immediately ordered by the investigating judge established a correspondence between the genetic profile found at several crime scenes and that of the dead man,” she added.

Several murders

Vérove committed suicide in a rented apartment, leaving a written confession, a source familiar with the matter told AFP.

In the most notorious case, he was suspected of having raped and murdered an 11-year-old girl named Cécile who was found dead in the basement of the building where she lived in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.

Police believe he caught her as she was exiting the apartment building elevator on her way to school and dragged her into the basement.

He also allegedly strangled a couple to death in the central Marais district of the capital in 1987.


Over the years, investigators have come to believe that the suspect may have been a member of the gendarmerie – police-like armed forces responsible for internal security – at the time of the crimes, and established a DNA profile of him.

In recent months, an examining magistrate had started to question around 750 gendarmes who were then deployed in the Paris region.

One of them was Vérove, a 59-year-old man living in the south of France, who was summoned on September 24 for questioning on September 29.

But he was then reported missing by his wife on September 27 and found dead two days later in Grau-du-Roi, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast, said the Paris prosecutor’s office.

He was a former gendarme, who later became a police officer and then retired, she confirmed.

“Took secrets with him”

The Midi Libre newspaper indicated that he had been living quietly in a residential area of ​​Grau-du-Roi for years.

According to local media, Vérove referred to “past impulses” in a letter he left, which he has since “under control,” and said he had committed no crime after 1997. The confession of the murder did not contain any details, they said.

In 1986, police released a police sketch based on witness statements that showed a man of around 25, six feet tall with light brown hair and visible traces of acne on his face.

A lawyer for Cécile’s family, Didier Seban, thanked the police for their work but also told AFP that it was “painful to know that the criminal took his secrets with him”.

According to the Parisian newspaper, Vérove is also the suspect of another murder near Paris, of Karine Leroy, 19, in 1994 in the city of Meaux.

(AFP)



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