France commune

Former French police officer identified as serial killer and rapist, ending 35 years of hunting

The man committed suicide earlier this week.

In a statement seen by CNN, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said DNA tests had “established a link between the genetic profile found at several crime scenes and that of the dead man.”

Authorities were looking for the perpetrator of five crimes committed between 1986 and 1994, including “rape of a 15-year-old minor, murders, attempted homicide, armed robberies, usurpation of title and kidnapping and the kidnapping of a 15-year-old person, “said the prosecutor.

According to his statement, the evidence gathered suggests that the person responsible may have been an officer from the army police division at the time of the crimes, and investigators were able to isolate the author’s DNA profile.

The 59-year-old man, who lived in the south of France, was told on September 24 that he would be examined on Wednesday as part of the investigation. About 750 men exercising the military police in the Paris region at the time of the facts were arrested.

The prosecutor said the man was reported missing by his wife on Monday and found dead in the southern town of Grau-du-Roi two days later, the day of his scheduled interrogation.

Beccuau said he first served in the military police division before joining the police force and retired at the time of his death.

Although the prosecutor did not name the man in his statement, the CNN affiliate BFMTV said a source close to the investigation had named him François Verove.

Citing local media, BFMTV said Verove left a suicide note confessing he was a murderer but did not give the names of his victims. However, he said he had “pulled himself together” and had “done nothing since 1997”.

Former police chief Christian Flaesch, who investigated the rape and murder of 11-year-old Cecile Bloch in 1986, linked Verove to the crime in an interview with BFMTV on Friday and said new technologies had made it easier to breakthrough in the case.

BFMTV also said the man was suspected of murdering Irmgard Mueller, 20, and Gilles Politi, 38, in 1987.

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The suspect was nicknamed “Le Grêlé” or “Hailed Man” in local media, after the Bloch family described a man they saw in their hallway at the time of Cecile’s murder, according to BFMTV.

Quoting The Parisian, BFMTV said the man had served in the Republican Guard cavalry from 1983 to 1988 before joining the regular police and serving in the juvenile brigade in charge of minors.
Local news agency Free Midi said Verove joined the local council of the southern commune of Prades-le-Lez in 2019, citing former mayor Jean-Marc Lussert.

“I feel both satisfaction and also pain for the Bloch family,” said Thursday Bernard Pasqualini, former investigator in charge of the case in 1986, in an interview with BFMTV. “This man will go unpunished.”

The news comes the same week that former British police officer Wayne Couzens was given a life sentence for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard after using her police identity to proceed with the a false arrest.

CNN’s Allegra Goodwin, Sarah Dean, and Amy Cassidy contributed to this report.