A twist in a legal enigma. A man was taken into custody as part of the investigation into the Chevaline killing in 2012, announced the Annecy prosecutor’s office on Wednesday January 12. It is about a biker seen near the scene of the crimes, who had already been questioned and exonerated in 2015, according to his lawyer.
Reminder of the facts: on September 5, 2012, in the middle of the afternoon,In the small town of Haute-Savoie which gave its name to the affair, an amateur cyclist discovers in an isolated car park three members of a family shot dead in a BMW registered in the United Kingdom: Saad Al-Hilli, 50 years old, born in Iraq and living near London, his wife of 47 years and mother of the latter, 74 years old. A cyclist hiker, Sylvain Mollier, is also found dead nearby.
The eldest of the couple, Zainab, 7, with a badly injured head, lies near the car. Around midnight, her younger sister, 4-year-old Zeena, is discovered hidden under her mother’s body in the back of the car, prostrate but unharmed. Zainab will come out of a coma four days after the tragedy. Despite lengthy investigations, the investigation still failed to identify the perpetrator (s) of the crime. Franceinfo summarizes where the case is.
Three privileged tracks …
Investigators are quickly moving towards three tracks: a crime linked to the activities of Saad Al-Hilli, an engineer specializing in civilian satellites, the family track, and that of Iraq, the family’s country of origin.
A call for witnesses is launched by the gendarmerie, while the ballistic report reveals that the cyclist was hit first. He is probably a collateral victim. A witness says he passed a white car “a little crazy” not far from the scene of the crime. Others evoke a dark-colored 4×4 and a motorbike. Zainab, interviewed on September 14, 2012, said that she saw only one “bad”. She joins her little sister in the UK.
From September 7, 2012, investigators evoke a dispute between Saad Al-Hilli and his brother Zaid over the inheritance of their father. Zaid Al-Hilli presents himself to the British police to exonerate himself. Finally, he was taken into police custody on June 24, 2013, then released the next day and placed under judicial supervision. Due to lack of sufficient evidence, its judicial review was lifted in January 2014. However, Zaid Al-Hilli remains on the list of suspects. But no other evidence supporting this lead has been made public since.
… and others discarded
On April 29, 2013, the gendarmes launched an appeal to anyone who “could have come into contact with one or more individuals who have circulated” in a gray 4×4 seen near the scene of the crime. About thirty people come forward, however no testimony can be traced back to the origins of the crime.
Another track is considered before being abandoned. On February 18, 2014, a dismissed former municipal police officer, an arms collector and living in Haute-Savoie, was arrested and placed in police custody. The man does not appear to be involved in the quadruple murder of Chevaline, announces the Annecy prosecutor.
More recently, on September 30, 2021, a reconstruction took place in Chevaline in the presence of several witnesses. The crime scene was frozen for several hours by the search section of the gendarmerie “just to check certain elements”, commented to France 3 Line Bonnet-Mathis, public prosecutor of Annecy.
A biker questioned again
On Wednesday, more than nine years after the events, the Annecy prosecutor announced that a person had been in police custody since 8:05 am for “carry out timetable checks”.
[communiqué de presse]
Police custody in progress in the case of the killing of horses since 8:05 this morning. New press release at the end of police custody. pic.twitter.com/9lwk3mYVyV
– Attorney Annecy (@ProcAnnecy) January 12, 2022
These verifications relate to the day of the facts but also the days before and after. Searches are underway at this person’s home, franceinfo learned from gendarmerie sources.
At the end of the day on Wednesday, the lawyer for the suspect in custody confirmed to France Télévisions the identity of his client: he is a biker seen near the scene of the crimes. His robot portrait had been released on November 4, 2013. This entrepreneur, who came to paraglide in Chevaline at the time of the quadruple murder, was found in 2015. He was then questioned and exonerated. However, six years later, he was taken into police custody on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. “This is a miscarriage of justice, my client is going through an ordeal”, defends his lawyer, Me Jean-Christophe Basson-Larbi.