France murders: Woman and her four children found dead in Meaux as police arrest father

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The bodies were found in the quiet suburb of Meaux on Monday evening

A woman and her four young children have been found dead in an apartment near Paris on Christmas Day, a prosecutor has said.

Their father, 33, who was already known to the authorities for ‘domestic violence’ was arrested on Tuesday morning in Sevran after being sought by the police on suspicion of murder.

The children were aged 10, seven, four and nine months, the prosecution said in a press release. The victims were found ‘after the alert was given by relatives who were concerned about their lack of response’. 

An investigation into ‘intentional homicides with premeditation’ was launched following the grim discovery, with police hunting the children’s father reportedly ‘on the run’ at the time.

The bodies were found in the quiet suburb of Meaux, 25 miles north-east for the French capital on Monday evening, police said. 

A woman and her four young children have been found dead in an apartment near paris on Christmas Day, a prosecutor has said (pedestrian shopping street in the town centre of Meaux)

The bodies were found in the quiet suburb of Meaux, 25 miles north-east for the French capital on Monday evening, police said

The bodies were found in the quiet suburb of Meaux, 25 miles north-east for the French capital on Monday evening, police said

‘Five lifeless bodies were found – two boys and two girls – leading to an investigation into their murders,’ said local prosecutor Jean-Baptiste Bladier on Tuesday.

‘The prime suspect is the father, aged thirty-three, who was found on Tuesday at a house nearby, after going on the run.’

Geolocation data on his phone revealed that the man left the family flat at around 8.07p.m on Christmas Day.

He then went to nearby Sevran to see his father, and to his grandmother in Garges-lès-Gonesse.

The dead children – aged 10, seven, four and nine months – were all inside the family flat, with their mother.

Neither the suspect, nor any of the victims, have yet been named by the French authorities.

The bodies were found at around 9pm, with the victims lying in the family apartment located at Square Adam-de-la-Halle, according to reports in ACTU17. 

‘There were a very large number of stab wounds on both the front and back sides, on the trunk, lower and upper limbs as well as defense cuts,’ said Mr Bladier.

‘Two other victims, the four-year-old boy and the nine-month-old baby, had no had no apparent wounds,’ said Mr Bladier.

This led to the early theory that they had died from drowning or suffocation, said the prosecutor. 

A murder investigation has now been launched following the grim discovery, with police hunting the children's father, 33, reportedly 'on the run' (aerial view of the Saint Etienne cathedral of Meaux)

A murder investigation has now been launched following the grim discovery, with police hunting the children’s father, 33, reportedly ‘on the run’ (aerial view of the Saint Etienne cathedral of Meaux)

Neither the suspect, nor any of the victims, have yet been named by the French authorities (stock image)

Neither the suspect, nor any of the victims, have yet been named by the French authorities (stock image)

Geolocation data on his phone revealed that the man left the family flat at around 8.07p.m on Christmas Day (stock image of the river Marne in Mauex)

Geolocation data on his phone revealed that the man left the family flat at around 8.07p.m on Christmas Day (stock image of the river Marne in Mauex)

The arrested man was already known for acts of ‘domestic violence and for suffering from psychiatric disorders’, said another investigating source.

The prosecutor said a further press briefing will take place later today.

On Christmas Day, ‘around 9 p.m., the bodies of five people were discovered in an apartment located in Meaux, after the alert had been given by relatives concerned about the lack of response from the occupants of the premises’ , reported prosecutor Jean-Baptiste Bladier on Tuesday morning in a press release.

‘The apartment showed no signs of break-in and the father of the family was absent. The latter is currently wanted by the police,’ added the prosecutor.

According to local media, the 35-year-old mother and her children were stabbed to death. 

The man was investigated in 2019 for acts of domestic violence, including attacking his wife with a knife, it is claimed.

But criminal proceedings against him were closed after he was declared ‘irresponsible due to his mental deficiency,’ said an investigating source.

In 2017, he had spent time in a psychiatric hospital, and he was on regular medication for his mental problems.

A neighbour of the family who raised the alarm following the latest attack, said she had last been on the phone to the mother who died at around 7pm on Sunday.

‘She said she was waiting for the return of her husband,’ said the witness.

When the neighbour visited the family flat on Christmas Day, she found ‘blood on the front door handle,’ and alerted the police, she said.

This neighbour described the mother as being ‘very jovial and very kind’, adding: ‘She was like a sister, always there for us, she lived for her family, her children and for her husband.

‘Her children are friends with my children, they are in the same class in the same school.’

The Paris region has recently seen a series of infanticides.

In late November, a 41-year-old man confessed to killing his three daughters, aged four to 11, and turned himself in.

Police found them dead in his home in the town of Alfortville, in the southeastern suburbs of the capital.

A month earlier, in October, a gendarme killed his three daughters before killing himself at his home in Vemars in Val-d’Oise.

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