Bodies found at home of missing French family

A French family of six disappeared from Nantes, France early this month: Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, a business manager, age 50, his wife Agnes, a school assistant, age 49, their 16-year-old daughter, Anne, and their three sons, Tomas, Arthur and Benoit, ages 21, 18 and 13 respectively.

They appeared to be an ordinary middle-class Catholic family. Yet something strange was going on: right before his disappearance, Xavier told some people that he was a secret agent and had to go into witness protection. The family had reportedly made arrangements to move to Australia, or at least said they had, which is why it took nearly two weeks before anyone realized they were in fact missing. They took their kids out of their private school and settled the bill.

Police have found three bodies on their property, and in one case a leg severed and placed apart from the rest of the corpse. (The first article I linked to just mentions a leg, but they have since turned up more. The next article contains photos of the family.) This article (which is in French; I translated it with Google), says they think the bodies are those of Agnes, Arthur and Tomas, and the apparent cause of death was gunshot wounds, though they’re still investigating. Presumably the cops are also searching for three more bodies. I don’t have much hope that anyone in that family remains alive.

Of course I don’t know a whole lot, but on the face of it, it sounds like a possible family annihilation on the part of the father, aka John List or Robert Fisher.

This is a very tragic and horrific situation. I feel sorry for the extended family.

19 thoughts on “Bodies found at home of missing French family

  1. Marlene April 21, 2011 / 3:00 pm

    that’s what it sounds like. The father was probably planning to kill his family for whatever reason. Horrifying!

  2. Sandy April 22, 2011 / 6:00 am

    The wife and all four children have now been located in a grave dug under the patio. Both dogs were also killed. Apparently all died from gunshot wounds. The father is now actively searched and is suspected of murdering his entire family; his credit card was used in the south of France and his car was located in a hotel car park… Tragic….

    • Meaghan April 22, 2011 / 1:47 pm

      I hope they find him a lot faster than they found John List. And Robert Fisher is still missing as far as I know.

      • Sandy April 22, 2011 / 2:58 pm

        There were hints in the papers of the father being delusional and something about a sect he might have joined. But at this point it’s all speculations…

  3. Celeste April 22, 2011 / 11:36 am

    I’m no expert on topics such as this but did the mother give any indication that she was going to leave and take the 16 year old with her?

    • Sandy April 22, 2011 / 2:56 pm

      Not from what I could read. But I’ll see if I can read more (I am French so can have a read and translate what I find if anybody is interested)

  4. Kat April 22, 2011 / 5:13 pm

    There was another guy from way back…was it Bradford? that I thought did the same thing. Never found him, either, as far as I know. As to Sandy, yes, please do. I’d like to know what is going on in this case, and I don’t speak French at all! I actually need to find a good French translation site, I have a few children’s books by favorite authors of mine that I need to translate to English.

    • Sandy April 23, 2011 / 3:16 am

      After autopsies it appears that all 5 victims have been killed in a methodically planned execution and probably in their sleep (several bullets in the head). Detectives discovered the purchase of large quantities of quicklime, tarp, concrete… It has been estimated that they died around 3-4 April which is when the family was last seen. Drug tests are being performed to find out whether they had been drugged before being killed. The dogs, however, were, according to neighbours, heard howling for 2 days. They have now been found dead too. Also 2 weeks ago the father was spotted loading one of his cars with large black bags. A 4 x 4 Pontiac is still missing.

      The father was spotted on 14 April dining alone in the south of France but as of now no trace of him has been found. He was also seen around 12 August in the Vaucluse (south of France) and it is known that he has withdrawn cash there at some point. One of his cars was found during the night of 14 to 15 April in the Var region.

      There have been talks of the death of this family being linked to the disappearance of a 50 year old woman in the Var region (in the south of France) where Xavier dupont de Ligonnes was spotted but it is being looked into.

      Apparently everything was a bit shady re the professional life of the father. His income was supposedly not that high and no one really knows what he was doing: sales some people say, tourism others were told. Some newspapers have reported that he owed money, one of them even claiming that bailiffs had been instructed to recover 20,000 euros. Internet searches and information regarding the registration and accounts of the father’s company are very scarce so debts could be a driver. But at this stage it is all speculations…

      That’s what I could find so far. I’ll keep an eye on the news.

      Re online translation tools, Kat, they are not that good. http://www.linguee.fr is not bad for one word or small sentence translations but most of the time those tools are a bit too literal.

      • Sandy April 23, 2011 / 3:17 am

        *12 April not 12 August. doh!

      • Meaghan April 23, 2011 / 6:41 am

        So much for “quiet, ordinary French family.”

        Or at least the dad seems to have been distinctly NOT ordinary.

    • Jaime April 24, 2011 / 7:14 pm

      Yes William Bradford I believe was his name he murdered his entire family back in the 70’s I believe. He may have escaped to Europe to live out the rest of his life. He spoke at least 5 languages.

      • Kat April 25, 2011 / 1:08 pm

        Thought so. Wonder if he’d dead yet or what…know they did not catch him….keep with the translations Sandy, love to know what is going on with this case..kinda dropped off cnn and all.

  5. Sandy April 23, 2011 / 9:38 am

    Apparently, the father started taking lessons at a shooting range in December 2010 before gaining his license in February 2011. He apparently asked about using a silencer and was even seen on the shooting range practicing with one. The caliber of the rifle he was using seems to match that of the weapon used to slaughter the family.

    The employee from the luxury hotel in the south of France where he was spotted in mid August said he was pleasant, relaxed and seemingly unconcerned.

    • Sandy April 23, 2011 / 10:00 am

      Mid April not mid August. Damnit what’s wrong with me!

  6. Perl April 23, 2011 / 11:08 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks so much for translating, Sandy!

  7. Sandy April 24, 2011 / 9:15 am

    Bit of a freaky turn of events: apparently the mother was, according to one witness (and more would have – it seems – corroborated this) spotted on 7 April which, given that the pathologist estimated the family’s death to have occurred around 3/4 April is a contradiction. The witness is adamant she spoke to the mother on 7 April and that she seemed relaxed and unconcerned. It could be a media making up a story and this is not true, it could be that the mother knew, even though she herself has been found dead with her children or it could be that the pathologist got his dates wrong. Very very bizarre….

    • Meaghan April 24, 2011 / 3:00 pm

      Or it could be that the father was somehow able to conceal the other deaths from her and make up some story to explain the children’s absence.

  8. Sandy April 27, 2011 / 9:18 am

    More twists and turns in this affair. Apparently members of the family were seen at different time before or after the estimated time of death (which the prosecutor is now saying cannot be exactly determined anyway). The first to disappear was apparently the eldest son (21) who was last seen around 1st April. He never went to collect his paycheck from his part-time job and disappeared off the surface of the earth after that. Next to disappear were the two middle children (13 and 16) who were last seen in town around 3 April (estimated date of death of the family). Next, very troubling story, the 18 year old son spent the whole day on 5th April with one of his closest friend in another town before receiving a phone call around 7pm from his father informing him that his mother had had a bike accident, wasn’t in any danger but was in hospital so he was asked to come back. Over the next day or so the friend says he received very short, cold text messages from the 18 year old which, he says, were totally unlike him. Finally the mother was last seen on 7 April. The bodies were found around 21 April.

    More troubling things have come into light, the mother had, on several online forums, been talking about her personal problems, the fact that she was lonely and terribly unhappy, that her husband was a bit of a control freak, a very old fashioned man who demanded to be obeyed and who had spent all her inheritance in building a company which never seemed to really take off. Apparently she had even started talking about all this from as early as 2004. She kept changing usernames as she was worried her husband might find out.

    The father left some rather strange instructions to family members when explaining the family’s departure to Australia (as we now know he talked about being a spy, having to go into witness protection yadda yadda), asking for an old washing machine to be disposed of, some stuff to be donated to the Red Cross and the keys to the house to be returned to the agency.

    The father is still missing and an international search has been launched. The trail went cold after his car was found on a hotel car park in the south of France.

    The funeral for the whole family is to take place tomorrow afternoon with the actual burial to take place on Saturday where the mother comes from. May they all rest in peace and the perpetrator brought to justice…

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