Missing twins' father surfed sites on poison, suicide
The father of missing Swiss twins consulted websites on travel to Corsica as well as those detailing suicide, poisoning and firearms, shortly before the girls' disappearance, Swiss news agency ATS said Thursday, quoting the twins' uncle.
"We cannot exclude that there was preparation," police spokesman Jean-Christophe Sauterel told AFP.
He however, would not confirm the elements which ATS say have emerged from investigations of a computer belonging to the father Matthias Schepp.
The twins' uncle, Valerio Lucidi, spoke of "terrible premeditation" on the part of Schepp and described latest news of alleged traces found on the computer as "very very worrying."
According to ATS, on the Friday before the twins' disappearance on January 30, Schepp had surfed on websites detailing information on how to take a ferry to Corsica. He also consulted sites that discussed suicide, poison and firearms.
The traces were found on his work computer which was on his table, although the files had been erased, said the news agency.
The twins' uncle also revealed that there are more details regarding the return of Schepp from Corsica.
Lucidi said police had told him about the new element, although they did not give further details. "There are no dates, whether it was 1 or 2" February, he added.
He also indicated that due to "media pressure," the family was leaving St-Sulpice, where the twins lived with their mother, Thursday.
According to a family friend, the mother left for an undisclosed site on Thursday afternoon.
Witnesses have come forward to say that they had seen Alessia and Livia on board a ferry between Marseille and Corsica with Schepp, who later killed himself in southeastern Italy last week.
A three-country search for the twins had been launched after Schepp failed to return them to his estranged wife on January 30.
Earlier Thursday, Swiss police said they have halted their ground search for the girls, and will shift the focus of their probe after witnesses confirmed the girls had been last seen in France.
"Everything about concrete searches on the ground has been stopped," said Sauterel.
"All that could be done in our view, has been done today," he added.
Swiss police had deployed helicopters, dogs and teams of inspectors to scour areas close to the village of St Sulpice, in western Switzerland.
The spokesman said that police are now working on "understanding what has happened... to find places where the father liked to go to with his daughters."
He added that it was "essential to reconstruct the journey taken by the father in order to find the girls."
The mother of the twins, Irina Lucidi, made an emotional plea on Italian television Wednesday, urging viewers to contact the police if they had any information that could bring an end to her ordeal.
"I appeal to whoever has seen them or knows something to contact the police," an emotional Irina Lucidi said on a RAI 3's primetime show.
© 2011 AFP