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Dismembered body of cyclist found at tourist site in southern France

Police say the body belongs to a local electrician who did not appear to have any ongoing feuds

A dismembered body has been found near the Orgues of Ille-sur-Têt (Pyrénées-Orientales), and identified as François Vigouroux Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

The dismembered body of a cyclist who had disappeared a few days earlier when he went out for a ride has been found in Pyrénées-Orientales (Occitanie). 

The body was discovered on June 1 when a walker investigated the strong smell coming from some bin bags at the base of the Orgues d’Ille-sur-Têt: a collection of unusual rock formations which attract many visitors. 

The police were immediately alerted, uncovering a head and torso in one bag, and thighs in another. A few hours later, they found another bag full of clothes, but even a helicopter search could not locate the rest of the body.

It was only yesterday (June 22) that the police shared an update to the case, revealing that the body belonged to François Vigouroux, 57, who had disappeared on May 26.

Mobile phone found nearby but switched off

A keen cyclist, he had gone out for a bike ride towards Thuir (Pyrénées-Orientales) around 17:30, but had never returned. His son became worried when he did not return to eat and alerted the police around 19:30.

A murder investigation was opened by Perpignan’s criminal prosecution department. 

Detectives have now found that the man’s mobile phone was traceable to a spot near to where the body was found, but had turned itself off around 18:00 on the day of his disappearance. 

Investigators are looking to understand why such a violent act was carried out, as this sort of murder is normally associated with mafia operations or the settling of scores. 

This idea jars, however, with the impression of the man shared by friends and relatives. “François is an electrician, he is not a thug. He comes home every evening to eat at home. He is the most normal man,” one of his loved ones told Le Parisien.

Mr Vigouroux lived with his partner and often went out on his bike. According to testimonies from those who knew him, he did not have any ongoing disagreements with anyone in the local area. 

An autopsy carried out on the body has not established the circumstances surrounding the death, and gendarmes have not ruled anything out. They would like to determine whether the man was killed where he was found or not.

The murder has shocked the inhabitants of Ille-sur-Têt, one of which said: “What worries me the most is knowing that the murderer has not been arrested. 

“I was in the habit of going to walk alone around here. I will not do that anymore.” 

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