Suspect arrested in missing Alsace teenager case

1st July 2004, Comments 0 comments

STRASBOURG, France, July 1 (AFP) - Police in eastern France have arrested a 57-year-old repeat offender who was recently freed from jail in connection with last week's disappearance of a teenage girl, prosecutors said Thursday.

STRASBOURG, France, July 1 (AFP) - Police in eastern France have arrested a 57-year-old repeat offender who was recently freed from jail in connection with last week's disappearance of a teenage girl, prosecutors said Thursday.

Pierre Bodein, nicknamed "Pierrot le Fou", was taken into custody late Wednesday by police in the Alsace region near France's border with Germany, under suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of 14-year-old Julie.

The disappearances of Julie and 11-year-old Jeanne-Marie, who went missing in the same region two weeks ago and whose naked body was found floating face down in a creek earlier this week, have shocked the nation.

Julie went missing on June 25 from the village of Schirmeck, located outside Strasbourg. Police found the girl's bicycle late Monday in an isolated forest, and said they were now investigating the case as a possible kidnapping.

A witness last saw Julie speaking to the driver of a vehicle whose description matches Bodein's Ford Escort.

Sources close to the inquiry said Bodein - convicted in 1996 for 15 crimes committed in two days - was also in contact with six people under investigation in connection with Jeanne-Marie's disappearance and death.

"There is information indicating that they spent time together," the sources said, describing Bodein as a "distant cousin" of the family detained in the Jeanne-Marie case.

Brothers Georges and Balthazar Remetter, aged 34 and 16 respectively, have been placed under investigation in that matter for kidnapping followed by death.

Investigators believe that Georges hit Jeanne-Marie with his car, took her back to the family home before abandoning her in "as yet undetermined circumstances".

Sources close to the investigation said an autopsy did not allow them "to rule out or to confirm" that Jeanne-Marie had been sexually assaulted, noting that additional tests would be conducted.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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