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Orne: the gendarmerie in search of the body of a woman who died 33 years ago


A man now in his sixties confessed under pressure from their common children to the murder of Marlaine, his companion. Excavations are in progress.

He will have held out for 33 years before yielding, wearily, to the call of the truth. Tuesday, June 28, a man suspected of having killed his wife in 1989 at La Chapelle-Souëf (Orne) was taken by the gendarmerie to the place where the body of the young woman could have been concealed. Research is underway, reports West France , involving some forty members of law enforcement and the judiciary. The end of a secret thanks to the questioning of the two children that the couple had had, and who were respectively 3 years old and six months old at the time of the alleged facts.

SEE ALSO – Orne: a man confesses to the murder of his wife thirty-three years after the facts

We are at the end of the 1980s. Marlaine is a 23-year-old young woman. Her husband, Pascal, is a 29-year-old lumberjack. They have two children together, Valentin, 3, and Victoria, six months. One day in 1989, Marlaine disappears, without announcement, without taking anything. “She left with a guy in the south of France“, explains Pascal. Marlaine’s beauty attracted men and would have constituted a form of explanation for this departure. The husband is playing the deceived man, and his story seems to be working. In addition, Pascal has no contact with his in-laws, a priori distant, from Marlaine, and no one thinks of alerting the police. The modesty of the village does the rest, and the subject is soon closed.

Valentin and Victoria are then placed for a few years with the father’s close family, who is unable to take care of them because of his job. He nevertheless remarried, four years after the disappearance, and the new couple even welcomed a child in 1996. The years passed and, when she reached adulthood, it was above all Victoria who wondered about her mother’s life. , is starting to get pressing for more. In 2019, a telephone conversation with her father on this subject made the young woman doubt: the explanations seemed to her incoherent, the man got confused in different versions.

West France questioned Pascal, the newspaper specifying that it wanted to avoid any testimony having “justification value“, but aim to enlighten “an extraordinary story“. With him, the suspect returns to the discussion of 2019 with his daughter: “I wasn’t ready to tell the whole truth, but I said things. This is where it all started“. It will take several more months for Valentin and Victoria to decide to discuss the disappearance of their mother at the gendarmerie in Bellême (Orne), in September 2021.

The latter immediately informed the prosecution, which opened a preliminary investigation, the first elements of which “highlighted a range of clues suggesting that the young woman had not left of her own free will“, he says. “Given the information collected, an introductory indictment on the count of arrest, kidnapping, forcible confinement without release before the 7th day was taken on April 25, 2022according to the press release. As part of the judicial investigation, a letter rogatory was entrusted to the Mortagne-au-Perche Research Brigade“. The first research shows that Marlaine no longer exists, on the internet or, above all, in the administrative registers.

Custody and confession

The story suddenly picks up speed. After a few weeks, on May 30, 2022, the gendarmerie placed Pascal in police custody. The next morning, the man allegedly confessed. FromWest France he details:I am not a great demonstrative. I spoke little to my children. As they grew up, they asked questions. I always said the same thing“. In his daily testimony, Pascal specifies on the contrary having told everything from the first months to his second wife, who died in 2008, and who will have kept the secret all his life, maintaining his confidence. The former lumberjack’s mother also reportedly knew about the murder he committed.

On the murder itself, Pascal explains that the arguments had multiplied and that, one night, he would have strangled Marlaine with the wire of the fixed telephone in their room. He allegedly dumped the corpse in a hole near one of his pruning yards. “I came back eight days later to hide the body by throwing sheet metal over it“, he says about this cavity which is now the subject of research by the gendarmerie.

The prosecutor’s office has in the meantime put the suspect under investigation. A liberties judge then placed him under judicial control – a decision which is the subject of an appeal. In particular, he is forbidden to come into contact with his children. However, they have met him in recent days in court. “ They told me they weren’t mad at me. I was surprised at their support. They were right to do all that. They needed to know. I’m ready to do twenty years in jail if necessary“, he concludes.


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