Oct. 1 (UPI) — French prosecutors have identified a former police officer as the person behind a series of slayings and rapes dating back 35 years.
The former officer François Vérove, who also served as a gendarmes, or military officer, left a letter confessing to the crimes before killing himself this week.
Paris public prosecutor Laure Beccuau said Thursday that DNA tests “established a link between the genetic profile found at several crime scenes and that of the dead man.”
According to a statement from the prosecutor viewed by CNN, Vérove was behind five crimes dating between 1986 and 1994, including the “rape of 15-year-old minors, murders, attempted homicide, armed robberies, wrongful use of title, and kidnapping and false imprisonment of a 15-year-old.”
The Guardian reported that the suspect evaded detection for decades, but cold case investigators recently determined a gendarme was behind the crimes. They summoned hundreds of former gendarmes for questioning, including Vérove.
French media reported that Vérove’s note said he wasn’t in a good state at the time of the crimes, but didn’t indicate a motive.
The Guardian reported that Vérove identified himself as a police officer to multiple women while carrying out the abductions and rapes. Among those killed were an 11-year-old girl he allegedly abducted from the elevator of her building and raped before leaving her body in the basement. Investigators also linked him to the assault and slaying of a German au pair and her male boss in a Paris apartment.
Didier Seban, a lawyer for the victims’ families, said family members had suspected a police officer or gendarme in the crimes because of his use of police techniques in subduing his victims.
“We are going to ask the justice system to continue investigating, to know if he had accomplices and to determine the number of victims,” he said. “The families must have answers.”