Investigators working on the 2012 case of a quadruple homicide including three members of a British family near the French town of Chevaline, near Annecy, have been asked to focus on the crime scene weapon.
A judge told investigators to be particularly vigilant about the weapon lead after the case was referred to the national centre for cold cases in Nanterre. It comes after 10 years of investigation into the mystery murders with few answers coming to the fore.
It has now been revealed that the judge in charge of the case, Sabine Khéris, sent a note last year to all the services of the police and gendarmerie to pay particular attention to finding traces of the crime scene weapon.
She described it as a “reminder” to pay attention to any weapons found that appear similar to the one believed to have been used by the killer or killers. Any classified adverts selling weapons of this kind are also to be reported, she said.
The weapon is one of the most promising lines of inquiry in the case, which has baffled investigators since it happened more than 10 years ago.
A fragment of a butt of a gun was found at the scene. After analysis, it was found to be a Luger P06/29, of which there are an estimated 6,000 possible matches.
The quadruple homicide happened on September 5, 2012, on the side of a forest road on the border of the commune of Chevaline (Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes).
The al-Hilli family were from Surrey in England, and three of the same family were found shot dead in a car, along with a local man, Sylvain Mollier, who was out for a bike ride. Only the family’s two small daughters, aged four and seven, escaped.
The victims were found to have been shot by an old model of the semi-automatic rifle, a Luger P06/29.
It is still not known why the family was targeted, nor how (or if) Mr Mollier was connected. The family had been on holiday, staying at a nearby campsite.
Several leads have emerged over the years, including a suggestion that Mr al-Hilli and his brother had argued about money before the killings, a mysterious coincidence of his wife’s ex-husband passing away on the same day and a motorcyclist being seen close to the scene of the crime.
Read more: Update: What is known about man arrested over French Alps shootings?
However, no lead has led to any definitive breakthrough, and all have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
In 2020, a burned body was found a few hundred metres away from the scene of the 2012 crime, although investigators said that they suspected a suicide, with no obvious link to the earlier murders.
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