Buying a silencer to going broke, here's what Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes did before his family was murdered

Buying a silencer to going broke, here's what Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes did before his family was murdered

In April 2011, the city of Nantes in France was left rattled after an entire family was found dead. French aristocrat and businessman Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes was nowhere to be seen after the bodies of his wife and four children were found in their garden. 

The authorities found the bodies of Xavier's wife Agnes Dupont de Ligonnes, 48, and her four children — Arthur, 21; Thomas, 18; Anne, 16; Benoit, 13 — but Xavier was missing. He was the prime suspect in the case but has not been seen since the murders. Netflix's documentary series 'Unsolved Mysteries' is a reboot of the classic and features episodes that look at cold cases and other mysterious cases with the third episode delving into the murder of the De Ligonnes family.


Notable events leading up to the murders

1. Children's school

There are many noteworthy events that occurred in the time that led up to the murder starting with the fact that Xavier had allegedly told his children's high school that he had been transferred for a job in Australia.

2. The letter to friends and relatives

Interestingly, Xavier wrote letters to his friends and relatives and told them that he was working for the US government who were protecting him. The letters were addressed by Xavier and his wife Agnes. They read, "Okay, well as you know, I've had links with the US. We are being looked after. The Americans have recruited me and transferred to the USA to infiltrate an international drug ring. This will be hard. You won't see us for a long while (No emails, text messages, no telephone). We have to change our identity and won't be contactable at all."


The letters surprised his friends and family. They said they were not sure how to process this because neither Xavier nor his wife Agnes were the type who would lie. Agnes' family kept pressuring the police to find answers, saying that there was no way an entire family could just vanish.

The letters sent to friends and family were addressed by Xavier and his wife Agnes (Netflix)

3. Xavier's father's death

Another significant event took place three months prior to the murders in January, when Xavier lost his father, who was also a count. A family friend, Michael Calvi, had helped Xavier sort out his father's things but there was not much as he had died living his days in poverty and loneliness. Calvi recalled that Xavier tried to look for some money that his father would have set aside, but found nothing. However, he did find a weapon — a .22 long rifle. Calvi says Xavier had a very unusual expression on his face and a very dark look in his eyes.


4. Purchasing a silencer

On February 2, Xavier had obtained a firearms license. According to Chief of staff Paris Police (ret), Jean-Marc Bloch, prior to inheriting his father's rifle, no one had any knowledge that he was interested in weapons. "It's from the moment he inherits this rifle from his father that he learns how to shoot. He even went to the shooting range with two of his sons. He posed a few questions to his shooting instructor, notably, on the eventual use of a silencer," Bloch says in the episode. 


On March 12, Xavier went and purchased a silencer to fit the rifle. 

5. Failure of the American dream

On the surface, it seemed like the family was giving the best life. All the children went to private schools, Agnes taught at a Catholic school, Xavier was an affectionate father and was successful. 

The documentary reveals that the family had tried to move to Florida but they were unable to. They tried to relocate for a while but had to eventually settle in France. As a result of the failed American dream, the family lost a lot of money and had more or less spent everything. Xavier's friend Bruno de Stabenrath said, "The last 10 years, 2001 to 2011, he (Xavier) was in a downward spiral of failure. They lose a lot of money. Well, nothing but problems."


Journalist Anne Sophie Martin says, "He knew in a short while there would be no money left. So eventually, he'll have to leave his house, etc. He was about to be uncovered as someone unsuccessful." According to de Stabenrath, Xavier was vain and proud and did not want to "lose face" and didn't want his kids to find out about the financial situation either. 


Xavier and Agnes' children — Benoit, Anne, Thomas and Arthur  (Getty Images)

6. A bizarre note on the home door

A neighbor of the family, Estelle Chapon, grew worried on seeing the shutters and blinds in the house shut. It was unusual as they were always open. She also noticed a sign on the door asking for mail to be stopped. When nothing changed for the next three days, she called the police. 


Prime suspect 

Xavier was not found despite an extensive search. He was last seen at a Formula 1 hotel located in Roquebrune-Sur-Argens, which is approximately 1,000 miles away from Nantes, a few days after the police found the bodies, IB Times reveals. CCTV footage showed him walking away from his car, which was in the hotel parking lot, and he was carrying a backpack. He vanished after that and was not seen again.


Where is he now?

Xavier continues to remain missing to this day with no news or updates on his whereabouts or existence. 

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