Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Xavier Dupont de Ligonn&es: Family Murdered, Father Vanishes

The Double Life



The funeral of the Dupont de Ligonnes family.
The funeral of the Dupont de Ligonnes family.
Left alone much of the time to drive kids to activities and doctors appointment and struggling to pay the bills with over extended credit, Agnes was an unhappy woman. She sought solace in online forums where she lamented about the sad affair of the family's finances during the years and months leading up to the murders. In www.octissimo.fr, a popular French forum devoted to "health and well being topics," Agnes wrote about how her husband's business failings. Xavier "hadn't moved fast enough in order to not lose all of his money," she wrote.

But what seemed to trouble her the most was the difficulties in their marriage. Agnes poured out her heart on forums about how unhappy she was. She complained about her workaholic husband who was gone on business much of the time and was very difficult to live with when he was home.

Xavier was "too critical, cold, and rigid" and tried to lord over the household like a military drill sergeant, Agnes wrote. Xavier would return home from a business trip and lock himself up in the basement, which served as his home office. When he wasn't locked away in his home office, he hardly spoke of anything else other than how overworked he was or about his business projects.

In one particular chilling post that would reflect the horror scene to follow months later, Agnes wrote that Xavier had spoken of how it would not be tragic if the entire family were to die. Agnes wrote that Xavier had once said "If we all die all at once, then everything would be over. We would no longer miss anything."

As Agnes poured out her heart about how unhappy she was on forums a couple of years leading up to her murder, Xavier sought solace from his unhappy marriage by having an affair with a woman he had once dated in high school. The woman, who has insisted on keeping her identity secret out of concern for her safety, was a successful businesswoman and loaned Xavier 50,000 euros for another one of his ill-fated business ventures.

A few months after receiving the loan, Xavier was asking for more money. In an email that Xavier had sent to his mistress just over a year before the murders that the French radio station RTL obtained and published on its Website, Xavier was obviously a desperate man.

Xavier's obvious intention in the email was to both offer an explanation to his mistress about what happened to the 50,000 euros she had loaned him and why he needed to borrow more money. But in the first lines of the message before going into business matters, Xavier bared out his soul, in an awkward sort of way like an adolescent boy trying to woo a girlfriend:


Dear XXX:

Before anything else, I would love for you to understand what is going on inside my head. I want you to know what really inspires me and I don't want you to take me for a manipulator, a con artist, or a hypocrite, nor for a liar or a crook.


Xavier then described his ill-fated scheme in which he lost the 50,000 euros his mistress had loaned him. His "business plan" involved buying and then reselling coupons for free drinks, but it was not clear to whom he was selling the "Tickets Crystals," as he called them, nor how much they cost. He also explained that the project once had the potential to generate "tens of thousands of euros per day" in profits, but a recent cut in the French sales tax had destroyed any margins the sales of the tickets might have made. He also alluded to problems he was having with the French government's fraud prevention agency, although he did not go into detail about that.

Xavier used the next part of his email to vent his woes. "I am in financial ruin and at the end of my rope like I have never been before," he wrote. He then described how he was four months behind on the rent for the family home, he couldn't come up with the money to pay his son's high school tuition, and his car had broken down. He wrote that he even had to borrow money from his mother to buy his children Christmas gifts, which he said he had to pay back, and was hounded by tax authorities for money he owed in social taxes.

The family would be evicted from their house at the end of winter (French eviction laws forbid foreclosures or evictions during the winter months), but before then, Xavier wrote that he only had 500 euros to pay for food until the end of the month. He described how he needed 15,000 euros within 15 days to keep the family functioning and 10,000 euros so that his Tickets Crystals scheme could finally work.

Xavier's ruminating then took a morbid and potentially homicidal turn, offering police evidence that he murdered his family.

"I don't sleep anymore and lay awake with morbid ideas, such as burning down the house after giving everyone sleeping pills or throwing myself under a truck so that Agnes would get 600,000 euros [from a life insurance policy]," Xavier wrote. "I have an anxiety attack every day when I first wake up in the morning that sometimes lasts until noon to the point that I have trouble breathing and suffer from heart palpitations."

Towards the end of the email, Xavier wrote that his message was a "plea for help" and that he absolutely needed her assistance. His pride was hurt, Xavier wrote, but he said he could not face his challenges alone. He closed the email with: "I love you, my [her name remains undisclosed]."

Xavier's mistress was apparently unmoved by Xavier's plea for help in his email. Not only did she break off the affair, but began legal proceedings against him to recover the money she had loaned him.

After the murder of his family, Xavier sent his ex-mistress one last email. Police officials did not disclose the exact content of the message, but said it contained both direct and indirect threats, including Xavier's claim that his former lover "would live in hell on earth for the next 30 years." Fearing for her life, she contacted the authorities and told them everything she knew.

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