French investigators ask if murder suspect is Alps serial killer

French investigators have linked a man suspected of murdering a nine-year-old girl in Savoie with the unsolved killing of a soldier. Now, they are asking if he was behind other mystery deaths in the Alpine region, a prosecutor said.

A general view of the small car park which was the murder scene near Chevaline in the Haute-Savoie region of south-eastern France where British engineer Saad al-Hilli and his wife Ikbal, who lived in Claygate Surrey, and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf were shot while on holiday in Chevaline in September 2012

In late November, a judge placed Nordahl Lelandais, himself an ex-soldier and in custody since September, under formal investigation for the suspected kidnapping and murder of Maelys de Araujo.

She was last seen at a family wedding, in Chambery, in late August.

He admitted that she got into his car at the wedding, after DNA was found in it, but claimed she only came to look at his dogs and got out later.

He said he cleaned the inside of the car the next morning, as he had planned to sell it.

Gendarmes block access to a killing site near Chevaline, French Alps, Wednesday Sept. 5, 2012. Three bodies were found in a BMW registered in Britain.

Prosecutors say CCTV footage showed a “small, frail form in a white dress” in Lelandais’ car as he drove away from the wedding.

Chambery prosecutor, Thierry Dran, said 34-year-old Lelandais was now also under investigation for the killing of Arthur Noyer, 23, whose skull was found by a walker in September, after mobile-phone data put both men in the area where Noyer disappeared.

“We are going to look at all the disturbing disappearances which have taken place in this region,” Dran told a news conference, without detailing which other cases would be re-examined.

Police search teams leave the home of French shooting victim, Saad al-Hilli in Claygate, Surrey, after police resumed their search at the home of the family gunned down in the French Alps.

Data trawls revealed that, after Noyer disappeared, Lelandais ran online searches using the key words ‘human body decomposition’.

 

Lelandais, whose home is 30 kilometres from Chambery, admitted being in the area where Noyer went missing, but denied any involvement in his killing, the prosecutor said.

 

The new allegations against Lelandais bring an added twist to the de Araujo case, which has gripped France since she went missing.

Zaid al-Hilli arrives at Guildford Police Station, the brother of a British engineer who was shot dead in the French Alps has been released from police bail.

Investigators have never identified a motive for the unsolved 2012 murder of Iraqi-born Briton, Saad al-Hilli, on a mountain road near the French Alps town of Annecy.

Gendarmes block access to a killing site near Chevaline, French Alps, Wednesday Sept. 5, 2012. Three bodies were found in a BMW registered in Britain.

Al-Hilli was found shot dead, with his wife and his mother-in-law, in what appeared to be an execution-style attack, which the couple’s two daughters survived.

“Obviously, along with the police, we will be looking into all of the worrying disappearances, which have taken place in the region,” prosecutor, Thierry Dran, told a news conference.

Investigating magistrates plan to reopen around 10 unresolved cases of missing persons or murders in the region, the Paris daily, Le Parisien, reported Wednesday.

Lelandais has refused to answer questions about Noyer’s and Maelys’ disappearances, but denies the charges against him.

Reuters


 

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