Bolivian police suspect foul play in missing French couple

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Bolivian police said Tuesday they suspect foul play and possibly murder in probe into the disappearance of a French couple missing since late August in Bolivia's Amazon region.

"We suspect the French couple have been murdered," said Special Anti-Crime Fighting Force chief Oscar Munoz, as quoted by the ABI news agency. He added that the woman may have been raped on a dairy farm before she was killed.

Jeremie Bellanger, 25, and his girlfriend Fannie Blancho, 23, have not been seen since they traveled the night of August 28 across the Brazilian border to Guayaramerin, near a lawless area known for drug trafficking and high crime rates.

The fathers of the two arrived in Bolivia Saturday seeking information and the biological father of Blancho's three-year-old son Bounty -- the only survivor found so far -- are due to be reunited and return France early next week, a French embassy official said.

Munoz said the owner of a dairy farm and a discotheque near Guayaramerin where the couple was last seen on August 29, is suspected of having murdered the pair.

Investigators said evidence collected at the dairy farm, including human hair caught in barbed wire, would be submitted for DNA testing and analysis, ABI reported.

Despite their suspicions, police in Bolivia and neighboring Brazil were still looking for the French couple, Munoz said.

© 2010 AFP

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