Missing twins spotted with father in Marseille

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Missing twins who have triggered an international search were spotted in the French city of Marseille with their father last week as he bought tickets for Corsica, Swiss police said Sunday.

The father, Matthias Schepp, reserved "three tickets to embark (by boat) that evening for Corsica" at a Marseille travel agency on Monday, police said in a statement.

He was spotted there accompanied by his six-year-old girls, Alessia and Livia. The car he had been driving was found on Thursday at Cerignola in Italy's southern Puglia region, police said.

On Friday, 43-year-old Schepp committed suicide by throwing himself under a train at Cerignola's station. Police in France, Switzerland and Italy are now searching for the girls.

The Marseille boat left Monday evening for Propriano, Corsica, where it arrived the following morning, Swiss police said.

"In all likelihood, he had his two girls on board," they said. "But we have no witness accounts of this at the moment."

Schepp, who was separated from his Italian wife, snatched the twins from their home in western Switzerland a week ago Sunday and drove them away in her car.

On Monday, he sent a postcard from Marseille to his wife, saying he was desperate and could not live without her.

© 2011 AFP

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