Ex-Policeman’s Suicide Ends 35 Year French Serial Killer…

Ex-Policeman's Suicide Ends 35 Year French Serial Killer Mystery

After 35 years of eluding capture, a former police officer suspected of being the serial killer behind some of France’s oldest unsolved crimes was discovered dead just as authorities were closing in on his identity.

After getting a summons for interrogation, Francois Verove, 59, committed suicide at his rented property in the south of France, leaving a “written statement” and DNA evidence later verifying his identification, according to the Paris prosecutor and sources.

The man, known as “Le Grele” (“pockmarked”), had been sought by police since the 1980s for the murder and rape of young girls, but he had never been apprehended.

Among the crimes he is accused of committing in the 1980s and 1990s include rape of kids, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping of minors, according to Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau.

“DNA testing ordered by the investigating magistrate immediately confirmed a match between the genetic profile identified at various crime scenes and that of the deceased,” she continued.

– Multiple killings –

A person close to the matter told AFP that Verove committed suicide in a rented residence and left a written confession.

In the most well-known case, he was accused of rapping and murdering Cecile, an 11-year-old girl who was discovered dead in the basement of the building where she lived in Paris’s 19th arrondissement.

He allegedly grabbed her as she exited the building’s lift on her way to school and dragged her into the basement, according to police.

In 1987, he is also suspected of strangling a couple in the capital’s central Marais district.

Investigators developed a DNA profile of the suspect over time, believing he may have been a member of the gendarmerie (police-like armed forces in charge of internal security) at the time of the crimes.

An examining magistrate had begun interrogating approximately 750 gendarmes who had been deployed in the Paris region at the time in recent months.

Verove, a 59-year-old man from the south of France, was one of them, having received a summons on September 24 for questioning on September 29.

But, according to the Paris prosecutor, he was reported missing by his wife on September 27 and found dead two days later in Grau-du-Roi, a coastal resort on the Mediterranean coast.

She confirmed that he was a former gendarme who later became a police officer before retiring.

– ‘Took secrets with him’ –

He had been living quietly in a residential neighborhood in Grau-du-Roi for years, according to the Midi Libre daily.

According to local media, Verove acknowledged “previous impulses” in a letter he left behind, which he claimed he had since “controlled,” and that he had committed no crimes since 1997. They said that the murder confession was devoid of specificity.

In 1986, authorities released a sketch based on witness testimony that depicted a man in his mid-twenties, six feet tall, with light-brown hair and visible acne on his face.

Didier Seban, a lawyer for Cecile’s family, congratulated police for their efforts but said it was “sad to know that the criminal took his secrets with him.”

Verove is also a suspect in the 1994 murder of 19-year-old Karine Leroy in the city of Meaux, according to the Parisien newspaper.

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