France in shock over deaths of two children

9th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

MOULINS-ENGILBERT, France, May 9, 2006 (AFP) - Police in France hunting the rapist and killer of a four-year-old boy were Tuesday preparing to conduct DNA tests on all the men of a village in the centre of the country.

MOULINS-ENGILBERT, France, May 9, 2006 (AFP) - Police in France hunting the rapist and killer of a four-year-old boy were Tuesday preparing to conduct DNA tests on all the men of a village in the centre of the country.

Investigators hope that the genetic samples will identify the man who abducted the boy as he attended a farmers' fête Saturday night in the village of Moulins-Engilbert with his parents.

France has been shocked by the kidnapping and deaths of two young children which have led to much soul-searching in the print and broadcast media.

The body of a five-year-old kidnapped girl was discovered in southern France on Monday, the day after a four-year-old boy was found raped and killed in the centre of the country.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin expressed his "most profound emotion at these barbarous crimes which have stunned the French people," the PM's office said in a statement Monday.

"Everything is being done to find the perpetrators as soon as possible and bring them to justice."

Le Parisien daily summed up the crimes as "the death of childhood" in its front-page headline.

Little Madison disappeared from her home in the southern Provence area on Saturday. Her corpse was found in a bin liner early Monday in the home of a 24-year-old man who was a friend of her family.

He was hospitalised after attempting suicide, local prosecutor Antoine Paganelli said.

"I cannot say for sure that she was killed, the case suggests that but medical investigations are ongoing," he told reporters.

"What is sure is that she was kidnapped. Personally I am sure that she was killed," he added ahead of Tuesday's autopsy.

The body showed no signs of a weapon injury just slight bruising, said the prosecutor, adding that it was too soon to say whether the girl had been sexually assaulted.

The previous day, the naked body of four-year-old Mathias was found under a pile of leaves near a brook in the central department of Nièvre.

The boy had apparently been drowned, said local prosecutor Christian Gongora.

The grim discovery was made 200 metres from the venue of a young farmers' party held Saturday which Mathias had attended with his parents.

The prosecutor said that investigators would soon have a genetic fingerprint of the murder suspect.

The victim's naked and lifeless body was found early Sunday. An autopsy determined he had been raped and probably drowned in a nearby river.

The village has a population of 1,500.

Some of the 80 police officers involved in the investigation in the village said they would initially take saliva or blood samples from the men among the 150 people who were at the fête, but were unable to say when the tests would begin.

"We're waiting impatiently for the tests because they will restore some trust in the village," said one inhabitant, who identified himself as Thierry, aged 41. "Right now, everybody's suspicious of everybody. With the tests, we can show our innocence to everybody."

"The killer must come from here. It seems that the place where the body was found would only be known to someone from the area," said local resident Christelle, 27.

"Everyone knows each other. Everyone's going to be suspicious of their neighbour. It's going to be horrible," said Roland, 59.

Elsewhere on Sunday a 12-year-old girl managed to flee when a man in his 20s attempted to kidnap her, a police source said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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