NAfter 35 years of unsuccessful manhunt, the French police have now identified a serial killer who, among others, cruelly killed a 20-year-old German au pair in Paris in 1987. Last week, the 59-year-old man and family man François Vérove received a summons for police interrogation. As a result, he did not return to his family. His wife reported his disappearance to the police. A short time later he was found dead in a rented house near Montpellier.
The autopsy revealed that he had died from a medication overdose. Next to his body, the police found a suicide note in which he confessed to being the murderer and sex offender who had been wanted for decades. He claimed not to have committed any crime since 1997. A DNA comparison gave the investigators final certainty that the man was actually the long-sought serial killer. What must have shocked the officers in particular: It is a police officer and former gendarme who exploited the weaknesses of the police search methods.
A police officer was suspected
His first victim was an eleven-year-old girl, Cécile Bloch, in May 1986. She was found dead in the basement of her apartment building in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Before the perpetrator strangled her, he raped her. The horrific murder in the middle of Paris shook France. The criminal case is described in detail in the book “Histoire de poulets, d’indics et de tuers en série”. The investigators succeeded in securing traces of the perpetrator’s sperm on the girl’s underpants. The half-brother of the murdered woman, Luc Richard-Bloch, had noticed a man with strange behavior near the house. He provided a detailed description of the alleged perpetrator, the most noticeable feature of which was a pockmarked facial skin. Other witnesses confirmed the wanted portrait. Since then, he has been searched for under the name “the pockmarked”. He was charged with at least four murders and six rapes.
On April 7, 1986, an eight year old girl, Sarah, was raped in the basement of her apartment building in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. The perpetrator’s approach was reminiscent of the murder of little Cécile, but Sarah survived. Again, the investigators found traces of semen. At that time, DNA forensic evidence was not yet common. The criminal police in the historic building on the banks of the Seine, 36, Quai des Orfèvres, used particularly ancient methods of investigation. Inquiries from half-brother Luc Richard-Bloch, now a trained biologist, went unanswered.
A short time later, a 14-year-old girl, Marianne, was raped in her apartment in the 14th arrondissement. Ingrid, an eleven year old girl, suffered the same fate. Only years later, in 1996, did a DNA comparison take place and the result was that it was the same perpetrator. The murder of the German au pair girl in the Marais district was also the result of the “pockmarked” person.
Thanks to testimonies, the suspicion arose that it might be a police officer. He is said to have shown his police ID once, and once used handcuffs. But it took another decade for an examining magistrate to reopen the serial killer case and summon former police officers for interrogation, including François Vérove.