Warsaw, Poland – A Polish man has been placed in custody in a mystifying murder case that has left French authorities baffled and searching for answers.
“In my 23 years as a magistrate, I have never seen a situation like this”, said Rémi Coutin, state prosecutor for Normandy, in north-western France.
Such an admission doesn’t come often from law enforcement authorities. The reason is simple.
“We don’t have a body. And we don’t have an identity for the person who we believe to have been killed,” the state prosecutor explained.
The only thing they do have, it appears, is a prime suspect: an unnamed, 46-year-old Polish carpenter who has been living in France for many years.
French police believe that the suspect, apparently drunk-driving at the time of the incident earlier this year, knocked over a woman cyclist and, believing she was killed, went home to take a spade to bury her. Coming back on the scene of the accident, he found her still alive, however, and instead “finished her off”, before burying the body along with the bicycle.
But French police found no body nor bicycle and have no reports of a woman cyclist going missing in the area. What they do have are testimonies from at least four people close to the suspect – including his ex-girlfriend who first came forward with the information – who claim the Polish man told them, in varying versions and levels of detail, what had transpired that fateful night.
Initially declared to have been stolen, the suspect’s car was later found burned out.
Arrested in June and placed under custody, the Pole eventually admitted that he had set his car on fire himself. But although confirming that there had been a car accident involving him and a cyclist, he told police investigators that the victim was not harmed, and that he had just made up a “bad joke” to his ex-girlfriend.
Local French police have appealed to witnesses to come forward with any information about the potentially missing woman, described as aged between 40 and 60.
Without a confession, a body or more physical evidence, any breakthrough seems unlikely.