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Frenchman suspected of killing family stayed at luxury hotel

Published on April 23, 2011

A Frenchman suspected of shooting dead his wife and four children stayed at a luxury hotel in the south of France, where staff remember him as being very relaxed, the manageress said Saturday.

“He was very well dressed and didn’t appear to have a care in the world,” Sylvie Boucher at the five-star Auberge de Cassagne told AFP, adding: “It is very surprising.”

Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes is being hunted by police after the bodies of his wife and four children were found buried under the garden patio of the family home in the Brittany town of Nantes on Thursday.

Police rapidly switched their hunt to France’s Mediterranean coast after tracing the use of the suspect’s credit card.

Boucher confirmed that the man spent the night of April 12 at the hotel in Pontet, near Avignon.

Arriving around 6:30 pm, “he filled out the form in the name of Xavier Laurent, (his two first names) and gave his address in Nantes,” Boucher said.

“He took a prestige suite, it was the only one we had free. He even got a special rate of around 220 euros because he said he was a member of a business federation and in the area for work.”

Afterwards he dined alone, ordering half a bottle of burgundy, she added.

“People on their own always stand out a bit more than others, but he stood out because he chatted a lot with the staff. He was very nice with everybody,” she said. “He showed no signs of worry, on the contrary he appeared very relaxed.”

French authorities on Saturday issued an international search alert for the 50-year-old businessman.

His family lived in the southern Var region before moving north to Britanny.