Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suburban Sex Slaves: Six Shocking Cases

Marc Dutroux

Serial rapist and child killer Marc Dutroux hails from Belgium, where, for over 20 years, his activities terrorized residents of that small country. He had an illustrious criminal career graduating from drug dealing, mugging, and stealing cars to kidnapping and murder.

In 1986, Dutroux snatched five young girls and raped them with the assistance of his fiancé (later, his second wife) Michelle Martin. They were quickly caught and convicted, but, amazingly, he served only three of his 13-year sentence. Dutroux was granted an early release for good behavior thanks to the permissive political atmosphere of the time. He soon struck again.

Marc Dutroux
Marc Dutroux

This time, in the basement of one of the seven homes he owned throughout the country, he built a dungeon for the sole purpose of holding his captives. Like other sexual predators and kidnappers he drugged his victims and forced them into sexual slavery. The first of the two new victims, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, were only 8-years old. He forced them to perform sexual acts on video. Six months after their capture in June 1995, they were joined by two new captives, teenagers An Marchal, 17, and Eefje Lambrechts, 19. The older girls were kept in the upstairs area. Not long after Dutroux killed them and later, buried at another one of his houses.

Dutroux's didn't limit himself to keeping sex slaves. During the day he stole cars and sold drugs. At one point he was arrested for those crimes and jailed for three months. Though police searched his house, and reportedly heard his captives calls, they thought the voices were coming from outside and decided it was nothing. The two eight-year old girls bound and locked in his dungeon starved to death while he was incarcerated. Despite his previous record, Dutroux was again freed to kill and kidnap again. ,

Sabine Dardenne (Getty Images)
Sabine Dardenne
(Getty Images)

Unlike most sexual predators, Dutroux had a small army of accomplices. In addition to his wife, Michele Martin, there was Michel Lelievre, whom he bribed with drugs. Lelievre helped Dutroux kidnap Sabine Dardenne, 12, in 1996. Later that year in August, Dutroux snatched Laetitia Delhez from a public pool. Another accomplice, Bernard Weinstein, the one who was supposed to be taking care of the two 8-year old captives while Dutroux served his jail time, let them starve to death. Dutroux later claimed to have crushed Weinstein's testicles and buried him alive as punishment for killing the girls. Another accomplice, Jean-Michel Nihoul, known for hosting organized sex parties had allegedly ordered two sex slaves from Dutroux for his own pleasure.

Because he wasn't as careful during the kidnapping of Delhez, an eyewitness to the abduction was able to give Dutroux's license plate number to police. Just four days after her kidnapping, Dutroux and his wife were arrested. The initial search of the home again turned up nothing (as the girls were again hidden in the dungeon), but the two confessed to all their crimes in an attempt to implicate as many of their accomplices as possible. The case spawned public outrage in Belgium as the authorities' many errors came to light. It took nearly eight years from his arrest to bring Dutroux trial. All but Nihoul were convicted. Dutroux was sentenced to life in prison.


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