Earlier Part-Half 2B
Highways and useless ends
The hunt for Xavier Ligonnès is sufficient to drive you loopy. It’s like searching for a misplaced object, a financial institution card for instance, of which we will decide the precise second of disappearance: we used it to pay, it was there, and the following second it isn’t there anymore. Logic dictates that we search for it the place we often retailer it (a pockets, a purse), then the place it could possibly be (a again pocket of pants, a corridor cupboard), and the much less we discover it , the extra we appear to see it in every single place. Confronted with absence, the mind constructs photos (the bank card in an workplace drawer, as a bookmark in a ebook, forgotten on the counter of the final retailer) however these are fictions or mirages; they encourage additional analysis however they don’t present an answer. Xavier Ligonnès’s obvious volatilization follows the identical logic and produces the identical results on the investigation. The extra weeks and months go by, the extra locations to look get smaller. Emmanuel Teneur finally ends up main the investigators to the Société Générale company on Place Royale in Nantes, however the protected he holds there’s merely empty. A request for data on Joven Soliman is shipped to the safety attaché for the French Embassy within the Philippines. He’s a sedevacantist priest, a fringe of traditionalist Catholicism who considers the Pope to be an imposter. The attaché transmits the hours of mass the place he officiates. A visit to the Philippines is being thought of, however that might imply going to the opposite facet of the world to search for a needle within the hundreds of islands of the archipelago. If this observe has by no means been closed, nothing has supported it thus far.
Since we should push logic to the top, the investigators even contact the American authorities to corroborate or contradict the story of protected witnesses instructed by Ligonnès in his well-known letter. The DEA has by no means heard of the person, and the liaison officer primarily based on the Miami consulate assures us that his final journey to america was in 2003: Ligonnès arrived in Florida on July 18 and left on August 22. The examine of his entourage additionally didn’t spotlight anybody able to offering false papers to the fugitive, and if he had gone by a legal community, the police believed that an informant would undoubtedly have warned them to guard himself.
Then there are the information stories: the portrait of Ligonnès goes round France, and even when he has undoubtedly modified his bodily look, his coiffure, maybe had even resorted to beauty surgical procedure, somebody, someplace, may acknowledge him in the future. In spite of everything, that’s how John Listing, a New Jersey insurance coverage salesman who killed his spouse and mom in 1971, was arrested. He waited for 2 of his kids to return from college to coldly shoot them, then attended his youngest son’s soccer recreation earlier than capturing bullets by him at dwelling. He evaded justice for 18 years till a co-worker acknowledged him from a report on America’s Most Needed.
Hardly ever has a legal case given rise to as many appeals as that of Ligonnès, as a result of his stalking not solely bewitches the police, it torments a whole nation. Greater than 1000 stories, hundreds of pages of depositions, letters, verifications. You need to think about the miles of printed paper that this represents when they’re stacked on a desk. The newest: in July, after the published of a Netflix documentary on the topic in america, the producers of the movie claimed to have obtained an fascinating lead in Chicago; but it surely’s only one extra drop within the bucket. Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès has been seen in Annecy, Nancy, Cholet, Corsica (a number of occasions); on the facet of a street, thumbs up, by a French vacationer in Las Vegas; disguised as a chimney sweep in Nîmes; in a resort in Cantal and in a pizzeria the place he paid money in a rush; seen once more in Germany, in Italy, and heard on the phone by the reception of the psychiatric hospital of Troyes. Since he disappeared trying just like the unusual neighbor, since he was a consultant and his career has taken him to all corners of France, there isn’t a much less purpose to see him in Mulhouse than in Roche-sur-Yon, and you’ll merely see him in every single place.
Aire de Lançon-Provence in July 2020
Extracts: “It was the identical look, besides that he seemed very unhappy, within the west, however he had the identical glasses as within the photograph you might be exhibiting me”; “He seemed like a person like everybody else, however there was one thing odd in his eyes;” “Yesterday, round 1:00 pm, I used to be watching the information on tv on the TFI channel. I noticed a report the place a person killed his kids and his spouse earlier than disappearing into the wild. (…) Seeing the gentleman within the photograph, I made the reference to the particular person whom I had crossed Sunday afternoon as a result of he had the identical smile.” On the Vauvert vacationer workplace: “I hardly take a look at the information, however Thursday night I noticed the photograph of Mr. Ligonnès, I had the impression of getting already seen him, my coronary heart was racing.” Between Carpentras and Avignon, when he comes again from the bakery, the supervisor of one among Nicolas Sarkozy’s brothers crosses paths with a person with a beige bob, which he’s sure is the fugitive. “I flashed,” he says. “For me, there isn’t a doubt. That is him.” Nonetheless extra letters are despatched to the police to supply them assist. An novice astrologer requests a replica of the suspect’s beginning certificates to determine a beginning chart, a girl in child-like writing advisable an incredible medium who had helped her discover her daughter who had turn into a junkie in Marseille. A prisoner requested in writing to be despatched to Guinea to go hunt him down within the jungle, attaching to his letter an inventory of the required gear, together with infrared glasses and a “samurai sword.”
With every letter, with every cellphone name to report a suspicious particular person, investigators try to cross-reference the data. They patiently accumulate the testimonies of the depositors to know the place Xavier Ligonnès was seen, if he was accompanied or not, what was his measurement and his outfit. Inconsistent testimonies or these referring to people who’re too younger (Ligonnès could be 59 years outdated in the present day) and too small (he measures a bit over 1.80 meters) are discarded. For the others, investigators test the CCTV recordings, after they haven’t been erased and when the cameras have really recorded on tape. If the particular person has been noticed pumping gasoline, in a Géant On line casino, or in a Courtepaille, they hint the technique of cost used and seize the duplicates of financial institution playing cards. They provide precedence to the eating places, particularly the Buffalo Grill, Ligonnès’ favourite institution. And when the path remains to be scorching and the dishes haven’t been executed but, they accumulate DNA from the plates and cutlery. Just a few months after the beginning of the investigation, the investigating decide in command of the case will even be pressured to ask them to decelerate, the seals beginning to tackle the looks of a china cupboard in a big restaurant.
The Complete service station in Lançon-Provence, July 2020
The PJ of Nantes believed on a number of events to lastly have in hand the profitable ticket and to be on the purpose of intercepting Ligonnès. This was the case in Borgo, the place a photograph taken from the video surveillance of a grocery store on this small Corsican city was very related. Upon verification, it was solely a neighborhood. They believed in it much more in January 2018 after they have been instructed that a person with a robust resemblance to Xavier Ligonnès was on the Saint-Désert Notre-Dame de Pitié monastery close to Roquebrune-sur-Argens. About twenty law enforcement officials raided and searched the premises till they got here throughout Brother Jean-Marie Joseph, who actually seemed disturbingly like Ligonnès, however who was not him. In nonetheless different circumstances, the police have been by no means capable of “shut the observe,” and it’s maybe Ligonnès who was seen.
For instance, in Lançon-Provence, April 26, 2011. That day, at 2:44 am, Mahjoub B., a handler by career, parks his car on the Complete service station after the Lançon-Provence toll. He fills up, then goes to the shop to pay. On his means, he passes a 45- to 50-year-old man, about six ft tall, who hangs on the market between the gasoline pumps and the shop. When he returns to his car, his colleague asks him if he has seen the person, whom he’s satisfied is the one everyone seems to be searching for, the one who killed his household in Nantes. Mahjoub then takes a brand new take a look at the person, notices that he’s carrying glasses, gentle denims, that he has brown hair a bit graying and a beard of a day. At his ft, 4 inflexible purchasing baggage, one pink, one white, one brown and one whose coloration he can not distinguish. Inside the shop, staff additionally observed the person. He’s been out for nearly three hours. At one level, he walks in to ask totally free espresso, as a part of a promotion. Behind her money register, Jocelyne H. notes a element: he’s lacking a tooth. “The second on the left, I consider,” she says when heard by investigators. That is data that has by no means filtered out and but, it’s true – a bit element, Xavier Ligonnès was lacking a tooth. Little by little, the house has crammed in, however you’ll be able to all the time see it when he smiles. The pictures from the station’s surveillance cameras are complicated: if this man will not be the one we’re searching for, it have to be his twin brother. At Three a.m., the cameras present him hitchhiking by a Volkswagen Combi, which investigators rapidly discover. The driving force’s title is Christophe B. He has not heard of the case, and he have to be one of many solely ones within the nation; however Christophe is now not listening to the information as a result of, he says, “the information is dangerous on a regular basis.” From the hitchhiker on the night time of the 25th to the 26th, he remembers that he “didn’t odor excellent” and that he had a rising beard. They didn’t focus on a lot. The person merely instructed him that he was coming from Paris the place he had gone to see “his sick outdated father,” and that he wished to take the practice to Aix-en-Provence. Christophe dropped him off at a motorway exit, the 30 or the 31, between Four a.m. and 4.15 a.m. The surveillance cameras at Aix practice station can help you get again on observe. He’s filmed on the forecourt at 6 am, he wears gentle pants, a darkish jacket. He buys a ticket at 1.20 euro, free vacation spot. Then we lose observe.
Regardless of all of the checks, regardless of all of the cameras, will probably be unimaginable to trace this man completely resembling Dupont de Ligonnès, who might however have confirmed that he was, not less than on this date, nonetheless alive.
How can one out of the blue evaporate in plain sight, and the way might a person who has collected chess all his life accomplish this feat? The XDDL thriller makes it attainable to scaffold all of the theories. These flourish in books, in docudramas and, in fact, on the Web. We think about Ligonnès protected by the secrecy of a monastery, flown to america, the place he can go unnoticed because of his English with out an accent, and even on the escape alongside a girl he would have manipulated. The law enforcement officials in command of the case don’t work on theories or psychological profiles, however in line with a scientific strategy: they all the time begin from a reality, which opens a observe, which they then discover till the top, shut, and transfer on to a different. This technique can be a technique to defend your self from limitless guesswork, or madness, but it surely doesn’t all the time work. A number of occasions, the observe seems to be like a freeway in the direction of the fugitive, and the police are satisfied that they are going to lastly shut this investigation. However they find yourself stumbling upon the worst factor ever, as was the case with the allusion to Emmanuel Teneur’s sailboat: coincidences.
Coincidence no 1. When the Ligonnès C5 was found within the Components 1 automobile park in Roquebrune, the night time watchman knowledgeable them that two reservations had been made within the title of Dupont Xavier, one on April 5 and the one other on April 14. The resort supervisor then specifies that the primary reservation was really made for April 6. That day, nonetheless, XDDL was in Nantes, most likely digging the grave of Thomas, murdered the day earlier than. Had he considered engaging in his crimes earlier or had he reserved a room for an confederate, who might need been hiding one thing for him? The movies of April 5 and 6 are now not out there, however cost for the room was made with a Crédit Agricole bank card. The quantity provides a reputation, Faiçal E., and an tackle. Might or not it’s an confederate? The checks are launched instantly result in a person who merely used “Dupont Xavier” as an assumed title – like Ligonnès – to ebook an evening in the identical resort, the identical 12 months, the identical month, inside ten days.
Coincidence quantity 2. The liaison officer in Miami launches analysis across the numerous aliases utilized by XDDL, for operations of “thriller shopper” or to remain in accommodations. Within the FBI file, he finds a sure Xavier Laurent, one among Ligonnès’s favourite nicknames, put in in Jacksonville, north of Florida. Jacksonville is not only any metropolis. That is the place Hugues, the cousin of XDDL lived, and additionally it is this locality that Ligonnès and his good friend Michel Rétif declared to customs in 1990 throughout their journey to america. On the very finish of the customized letter despatched to Michel on April 8, Xavier Ligonnès appeared to allude to it: “I’ll take into consideration you there. (Not the correct to inform you the place, however you went there with me…in November 90…a clue to dig. LOL).” However this Xavier Laurent is one other coincidence: the police come throughout a sure Evan Shaffer, a petty legal who has chosen this alias to commit crimes.
Coincidence quantity 3. Ten days earlier than the crimes, XDDL reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, Catherine Ok., whom he met in Versailles within the 1980s. Between March 22 and 24, they change textual content messages and attempt to discover a date to fulfill the week of April 12, in Chamonix. These messages intrigue the investigators, some solutions appear shocking, nearly illogical, they usually suspect Ligonnès of getting wished to make sure a logistical relay in his escape. Somewhat later, a sure Patrick O. stories having seen XDDL within the queue of a Sixt automobile rental company at Good airport on April 17, 2011. By peeling the names of dozens of individuals having rented a automobile that day, the law enforcement officials miss the infarction: in capital letters, white on black, seems the surname of Catherine, who would have rented a car at 1:30 am. Just a few hours later, their coronary heart fee drops once more: it was solely an ideal disambiguation.
Every coincidence causes the identical chain of reactions. First a eureka!, the understanding of getting lastly discovered the tiny element from which to hint every thing. The police then solid their nets like fishermen on the excessive seas, phone or banking requisitions, requests for listings, identification checks. Then they wait. It will possibly final from a number of hours to a number of weeks, and inevitably it’s a burning, nagging wait, tense by the concern that the observe will fly away. Lastly, there’s the immense disappointment and the duty to face actuality once more: Xavier Ligonnès remains to be nowhere to be discovered, a observe has flown once more, and we’ve got to hoist the rock up the mountain once more. Those that have labored or are nonetheless engaged on the affair try to keep up a chilly, rational, police facade. However little by little, by dint of chasing a shadow – not even a shadow, a ghost – obsession lurks. One among them, a police officer with knowledgeable Protestant pastor, now out of the investigation, nonetheless returned till just lately to seek the advice of the investigation file each week, saying he merely wished to place the 12,000 pages of paperwork so as. For a 12 months, a legal analyst has additionally been mobilized. He enters all the weather of the file in a software program which digests them and spits out, maybe, new threads to attract. Within the meantime, the 2 law enforcement officials who’re nonetheless following the investigation – one on the PJ in Nantes, one on the OCRVP, in Paris – “dwell” the case, as their colleagues say. Amongst these hundreds of pages there isn’t a doubt a clue that has gone unnoticed or, higher, a lead that has not but been explored.
Observe no 1. Who typed “fraternité saint-thomas becket” on Google on April Three at 11:34 pm, earlier than clicking on a hyperlink within the Cité-Catholique discussion board? Is it the identical one who, the identical night time at 2:01 am, from an iPhone, did the seek for “communion state mortal sin,” bringing it to the identical discussion board? On April 8, the person of this cellphone will in any case ship the search engine the request “howdy Chacou”, which is able to lead him (her) once more to the Cité-Catholique discussion board. Chacou was one of many pseudonyms of Xavier Ligonnès. Investigators noticed crazier coincidences, however nonetheless: can it actually be somebody aside from Xavier Ligonnès, who himself related to Cité-Catholique nearly every single day of his escape? The final article revealed on the positioning about Saint-Thomas Becket, an ultra-traditionalist fraternity which practices mass in Latin, dates from January 2009. It signifies the title of its founder, Father Jean-Pierre Gac, and specifies this: “Born within the diocese of Blois the place there are two communities (…), the fraternity has additionally prolonged within the diocese of Toulon – a parish can be entrusted to them in Ollioules.” Ollioules is positioned six kilometers from La Seyne-on-Mer, the place XDDL spent its penultimate recognized night time, and 94 kilometers from Roquebrune. Jean-Pierre Gac was questioned by the police however claimed to have by no means been in touch with the fugitive. Investigators have all the time believed within the risk that Ligonnès took refuge in a monastery within the Var. They thought of to go looking them one after the other, earlier than understanding that there are dozens and dozens of brotherhoods and fraternities, that they aren’t all the time castles of the Purple Rivers however typically easy farms, misplaced within the hinterland. To mount a search, it will be crucial to make sure that they don’t talk with one another, and due to this fact to go to all of them on the similar time. The analyzing Justice of the Peace rapidly tempered the fervor of the police and declared the operation unimaginable.
Observe quantity 2. Xavier Ligonnès had two secret Fb accounts. The primary is known as after his favourite nation singer, Waylon Jennings. One among his nieces had additionally discovered him a month earlier than the crimes, sending him a message, “however who’s behind this nickname?,” to which XDDL had instantly replied “How did you handle to reach on the Waylon Jennings Fb profile? Too intelligent! Microsoft Benefit??? Kiss.” The second account considerations a sure “George City” residing in Nantes and is linked to one among Ligonnès’ many e mail addresses, [email protected] The police ship a requisition to the administration of Fb in Palo Alto to acquire the creation and connection logs of the 2 profiles. The reply is available in days: the primary was created in February 2010, the second in December 2007, when France had barely found the social community. Above all, the response signifies that Ligonnès related to the 2 accounts on the night time of April Four to five, between the primary assassinations and that of Thomas. The profiles have since been deleted however counsel he might have used them to speak with a 3rd social gathering. Catherine Ok., the youthful lover that XDDL contacted a number of days earlier than the tragedy, additionally reported to the police that she had been approached by a sure Philippe Steiner, whom she didn’t know, round Could 20. He despatched her a wierd message, suggesting that they could have had a relationship previously. When she went to reply, the profile had already been deleted. As we speak there are nearly 100 Fb accounts on behalf of Waylon Jennings, some are created and deleted every single day.
Observe quantity 3. When the Ligonnès household is having their final meal on April 3, 2011, round 9 pm, a younger lady walks by the glass doorways of the police station on Place Waldeck-Rousseau in Nantes. Initially from a small village close to Vannes, Julie is a BTS pupil and involves file a grievance: the Twingo that her father lets her drive has been damaged into, most likely through the night time. There was not a lot inside, however Julie reported the theft of her automobile radio in addition to the car’s logbook, which she usually saved in a small Renault grey fake leather-based pouch. This similar pouch was discovered on April 22 within the dresser of the Ligonnès lounge the place Xavier used to retailer his papers, through the investigation the day after the invention of the our bodies. The police didn’t observe this observe: they put the break-in of Julie’s automobile on the account of one of many Ligonnès sons, Arthur, who had already been arrested for theft of a bicycle and driving beneath the affect of hashish. However why would Arthur have taken the car papers with the automobile stereo, and why would he put them in the midst of his father’s papers? And if the theft was dedicated by Xavier Ligonnès a number of hours earlier than killing his household, how can this be defined? Was he capable of steal different identification papers to facilitate his escape?
On this case, it’s all the time about vehicles. These imported by XDDL from america, the Citroën C5 from the escape, the automobiles he claimed had been stolen over time: the primary on the Brest police station in 1998, whereas dwelling in Pornic, a second on the similar time on the Saint-Nazaire police station, after which once more, in Nantes, on Could 17, 2006, a Golf convertible lastly discovered then offered a number of months later to a mechanic, a good friend of Cédric M.
Cédric M. isn’t far-off on the subject of vehicles. He’s additionally a mechanic, that’s how Ligonnès met him in Vannes a number of years earlier. He is among the recipients of the departure letter, due to this fact an in depth good friend. He was even the primary worker of the RDC. Ligonnès usually went to go to him in Locmalo within the coronary heart of Morbihan, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nantes. With Cédric and his associate, Renaud, they went to the native creperie. They’d lunch there collectively on March 31, 2011, 4 days earlier than the crimes. Within the village, it’s mentioned that Ligonnès took care of the darkish accounts of the “guys,” who’ve fairly a popularity. Might he have constructed up a slush fund there that nobody would have discovered till now? Cédric and Renaud’s storage will not be indicated by any signal. It’s on the finish of a street. Within the yard, wrecks of American vehicles and a goat on a leash. Inside, Renaud is engaged on a shiny yellow Cadillac. His angle is complicated. He’s indignant with the police who’ve by no means come to query him when he’s, in line with him, “the final to have seen [Xavier] alive. However I can’t inform you when, as a result of that the date is necessary,” he provides earlier than returning to his Cadillac, wrench in hand.
Thus far, Renaud has nonetheless not been heard by investigators.
On the similar time, stories proceed to circulation.
Ligonnès seen in Mulhouse, on the 4 lanes between Saint-Brieuc and Rennes in a Peugeot 308 and overtaking on the correct, Ligonnès seen once more in Tunis and Toulouse.
Ligonnès seen, however by no means caught.
Subsequent Part-Half 2D