Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michel Fourniret Serial Killer

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Elisabeth Brichet
Elisabeth Brichet

On July 3, 2004 Fourniret and Olivier led police to two separate areas of ground on the couple's property where 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet and French student Jeanne-Marie Desramault were buried. According to Associated Press' Verena von Derschau's, both young women had gone missing in 1989. After a brief search, police located and unearthed their partially preserved remains. An Expatica.com article stated that, "when the bodies were disinterred, Fourniret showed no emotion."

Jeanne-Marie Desramault
Jeanne-Marie Desramault

It is unclear whether there are other victims buried in the area. Yet, on July 6, 2004 Expatica.com suggested that Fourniret confessed to throwing the body of 17-year-old Isabelle Laville into a well. The well is thought to be located on or near to the property. Lichfield reported that Olivier and Fourniret abducted Laville as she was walking home from school in Auxerre, France, before being raped and murdered.

Isabelle Laville
Isabelle Laville

Olivier also informed police where to find the body of the couple's former au pair, which she said was located in the garden of their previous house in southern Belgium, near the French border. However, a search of the two areas that Olivier identified revealed no bodies. Even though investigators were frustrated, they said they would continue to search for the girl's body at a later period, when more details to her exact location are known. If the girl's body is ever found, it would bring the total number of Fourniret's known victims to 10. Despite the lack of evidence, Fourniret has been charged with her murder.

Police at Michel Fourniret home
Police at Michel Fourniret home

Many of the families of the murder victims are angered that Fourniret was not caught earlier. They believe that had he served his entire seven-year sentence, there would have been far fewer murders. Moreover, had they been alerted to the fact that a pedophile rapist lived in their region they would have had the chance to take precautionary measures that could have possibly prevented the deaths of their loved ones.

Expatica.com quoted French prosecutor Yves Charpenel in a July 8, 2004, article saying that at the time Fourniret was released from prison "there were no laws to ensure the traceability of sexual offenders, so in my view there were no failures of the system, given the judicial context at the time." Since then new laws have been passed which make it obligatory to follow-up on sexual delinquents and a national registry of sexual offenders will likely be instated in late 2004. However, what is also of great importance is establishing better communication and co-operation among EU police forces so that criminals who commit cross-border crimes can be more easily tracked and prevented from committing more crimes.

On August 3, 2004, Expatica.com reported France recently issued a European arrest warrant asking Belgium to hand Fourniret over to French authorities because the vast majority of his crimes were committed in their country. Yet, Belgium refused to give Fourniret over until they were finished questioning him over the murders committed in their region. French authorities were then forced to go to the prison in Nivelles, Belgium, to interview the man whom many refer to as the "Ogre of the Ardennes." One of the cases investigators were anxious to question Fourniret about was that involving the murder of a young girl named Joanna fourteen years earlier.

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