Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes: French aristocrat accused of killing wife and 4 children still missing after 9 years

Autopsies showed that all the five family members were likely killed with a gunshot wound to the head with a .22 rifle. The killings were described as a 'methodical execution'


                            Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes: French aristocrat accused of killing wife and 4 children still missing after 9 years
(Netflix)

French aristocratic businessman Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes is believed to have murdered his wife and four children before vanishing without a trace. Last year, a man suspected to be Xavier, who has been on the run since 2011, was arrested at the Glasglow airport, UK but identity checks have shown that it was not him. Netflix's latest series 'Unsolved Mysteries' is a reboot of the classic show, and looks at cold cases and other mysterious cases with the third episode delving into the murder of the De Ligonnes family. 

The murder and crime scene 

In April 2011, the police discovered the bodies of a family inside an ordinary middle-class family home in the city of Nantes, France. The bodies were found under the house's patio and were wrapped in sheets. They had also been covered by quicklime, France 24 reports. The authorities found the bodies of Xavier's wife Agnes Dupont de Ligonnes, 48, and her four children: Arthur, 21, Thomas, 18, Anne, 16, and Benoit, 13. The police also found the bodies of the two family pet Labrador dogs.

The police say that Agnes and the four children had likely been killed between April 3 and April 5 with the bodies being discovered almost 15 days later on April 21. Autopsies showed that all the five family members were likely killed with a gunshot wound to the head with a .22 rifle. The killings were described as a "methodical execution." The children had also reportedly been drugged with sleeping pills before they were shot dead. 

The bodies of the mother Agnes Dupont de Ligonnes and her four children Arthur, Thomas, Anne, and Benoit aged 13 to 20 years have been found in the garden of their house on April 21, 2011 (Getty Images)

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 1000 miles away from Nantes a few days after the police found the bodies, IB Times reveals. He was seen on CCTV walking away from his car which was in the hotel parking lot and he was wearing a backpack. Investigators believe that he could have funded his escape using his wife's missing jewelry.

He had fled Nantes after neighbors reported not having seen any of the family members for more than three weeks. Xavier, then aged 50, had become the main suspect in the gruesome murder of his family. Investigations showed that in the days leading up to the murders, Xavier had bought cement, digging tools, and also four bags of lime from various locations in Nantes. It is also believed that he owned the same .22 rifle which was the same weapon used in the murders and had inherited it just three weeks earlier from his father. 

Several hundred people take part in a march in Nantes, western France, in memory of the five Dupont de Ligonnes members from the same family murdered in their Nantes family house. The bodies of the mother Agnes Dupont de Ligonnes and her four children Arthur, Thomas, Anne, and Benoit aged 13 to 20 years have been found in the garden of their house on April 21, 2011. The father, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, is the prime suspect of the quintuple murder but it is not found yet. The event started from the city center of Nantes to reach the house of the tragedy. Flowers, candles, and photos of children were placed before the house (Getty Images)

Before the murders had taken place, Xavier had allegedly told his children's high school that he had been transferred to a job in Australia. He had told his friends that he was a US secret agent who was going to be taken into a witness protection program.

Mystery and manhunt 

Xavier's whereabouts have remained unknown since his last confirmed sighting in 2011. He had stayed at a luxury hotel in the south of France and staff had revealed that he had booked himself a prestige suite. He ate dinner alone and had also ordered himself half a bottle of burgundy. He was later spotted at a small town on the Côte d’Azur where he had spent a night at a budget hotel. His car was found in the parking lot abandoned, making it the last known site. 

There have been a handful of mysterious sightings but nothing has been confirmed so far. There is a lot of speculation that Xavier could have possibly taken his own life after having become gripped by the crime. The hundreds of sightings that have been provided to the police have all proved to be false leads with no new information on where he may be. One such time was in 2015 when human bones were discovered by a walker near the town of Frejus where Xavier had reportedly been seen. However, DNA testing ruled Xavier out. 

The 2019 false suspect

Police believed to have nabbed Xavier last year in the Glasglow airport when he was suspected of getting off a flight there. The man suspected was arrested by the police and also fingerprinted, BBC reports. However, it turned out that the authorities were wrong and had got the wrong man. The police released a statement and said, "On Friday, 11 October 2019, a man was arrested at Glasgow Airport following information provided to police. He was held in police custody in connection with a European Arrest Warrant issued by the French Authorities." "Inquiries were undertaken to confirm the man's identity. Following the results of these tests, it has been confirmed that the man arrested is not the man suspected of crimes in France. The man has since been released," the statement read. 

Current status

There has been no sight or knowledge of Xavier's whereabouts and he continues to remain missing till today. 

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