France, April 2011. The DuPont de Ligones family, a married couple and their children between the ages of 13 and 21, showed no signs of life for several days when they opened the case of their disappearance.
The bodies of Benoit, Anne, Thomas, Arthur and their mother, Agnes, appear before investigators while they are buried on the terrace of the family home in Nantes (West), covered in sheets and covered with limestone. With at least two headshots each.
An autopsy revealed that they had been subjected to “proper execution,” in the words of then-Nantes lawyer Xavier Rons.
The father, Xavier DuPont de Ligonas, a notoriously successful businessman from an aristocratic and Catholic family, was last seen on April 15, 2011, walking from a road hotel in Rock Brun-sur-Arkansas (southeast) with a shoulder bag of some sort.
Since then, nothing. Did the main suspect kill himself? Did he run for ten years? These questions remain unanswered, and the passion for this case extends beyond France.
“Very different hypotheses thrive, everyone expresses their fantasies or emotions in one script, the effect of which is not yet known,” Xavier Ronsin insists, recalling reports where the suspect was found “in the most unlikely places”.
Saw countless times
In a decade, the man, who was born in Versailles in 1961, was “spotted” countless times, and in 2015 when researchers discovered human remains near Frogs (southeast) they believed they were on the right track, and then until late 2017, when believers in a monastery reported that the family In the presence of a monk like the father.
But the bones do not belong to him, nor to the monk Xavier DuPont de Ligonas.
DNA also showed that a French retiree detained at Glasgow Airport in October 2019 due to an “anonymous tip” was not a suspect in several murders.
Although his whereabouts are unknown, time has allowed him to explore all corners of a debt-ridden past, including Catholics and old nobles.
Xavier Ronsin points out that six residents of Robert Schumann Boulevard, No. 55 in Nantes, lived “almost ordinary and classic, in a familiar French middle-class environment.”
There are several documentaries about this case, which aired on Netflix in the summer of 2020 (Unsolved Mysteries), one of the many examples of the attraction to this murder.
The context of Xavier DuPont de Ligonas is a fascinating subject, especially as his mother Genevieve and his sister Christine, who lead a Orthodox Catholic-inspired prayer group, are suspected of sectarian slips.
Another recurring theme is the interest of this family man in the United States, where he says he was expelled in a letter received by several relatives in early April 2011.
Fabrice Truwell, presenter of the radio show “Affairs Wise” (“Soft Cases”) on public broadcaster France Inter, described the case as “the biggest event of the beginning of this century”.
“Everyone wants to do their own research, have their own opinion. We all turn out a little bit like journalists or cops when investigating,” he adds.