Special envoy to Anduze (Gard)
Special envoy to Anduze (Gard)
It is a splendid setting, where deciduous and coniferous trees follow one another along the roads, and which would invite relaxation, were it not for the time trial in progress. In the tranquility of the Cévennes, a man has been in hiding since Tuesday, tracked down by 350 gendarmes and heavy and sophisticated equipment. In the morning, he killed in cold blood his boss of the Plantiers sawmill (Gard) and a colleague who had wanted to intervene. Then returned to his home in the same village, probably equipped himself with his sniper rifle, and left, in a direction and a goal that investigators still have difficulty discerning.
Valentin Marcone, 29, was considered unsociable, and had conceived a delirium of persecution around his successive employers. Not renewed in a job integration at the town hall due in particular to his absences, he had filed complaints, later rejected by the courts. It was also the subject of legal proceedings, in an illegal registration file of a depositary of public authority. But for now, the reasons for his acting out still seem unclear. Recently became the parent of a little girl, Iroise, with his partner Blandine, his own father tried to bring him to his senses on Thursday, using a recorded audio message, obviously without success.
To read also: "Valentin, c'est papa, je t'aime": the father of the murderer of the Cévennes calls him to surrender
To intercept this evil - and puny - "
" in the land of Stevenson, the gendarmerie has built a triple device. A first looping zone, of approximately 15 km², concentrates the complete raking work. To describe the degree of thoroughness and the necessary efforts, General Jean-Valéry Letterman, commander of the Hérault gendarmerie group, met by
this Friday, turns to the mountains behind him: “
You can imagine that don't explore it like a field ... It has nothing to do with battles in a row like in the movies
”. In the reliefs, the investigators start from the paths, scrutinize using thermal and infrared cameras. "
We talk to local hunters, but also the ONF, who tell us where the mazets are, a local term that designates shelters and houses, caves, cavities ...
”describes the officer.
Encompassing this first zone, a perimeter of eight kilometers by four is also scrutinized with other means, according to testimonies, centers of interest established by intelligence.
The three Saint-Hubert dogs, capable of working on a “
” unlike other breeds, are used there in particular.
Finally, a square of about fifteen kilometers on each side constitutes the rest of the theater of operations, with less intensity, the helicopters or all the teams, including the GIGN, probing specific points there.
The inhabitants of the "anxious" area
Part of the workforce is also assigned to the protection of the population and to filter dams. If the inhabitants of Plantiers, cloistered, can only go out for necessary purchases, the prefecture of Gard emphasizes in
that psychological teams are available there, and that firefighters provide support and refueling missions. In the surrounding villages, if the first feeling is that of sadness, fear or at least doubt is also registered on the faces. A resident of Saumane, a village bordering Les Plantiers, tells us that the work colleague killed on Tuesday by Valentin Marcone lived a few meters away. "
We all know each other, at least by sight
" he sighs modestly. And refuses to talk about the fugitive. "
He is at bay,
but there is still this doubt, this runaway, which makes us a little anxious.
What if we run into him when opening our cellar or garage?
We would all like him to explain himself, that he assumes, but if he is judged ... There will be many psychiatrists who will find excuses for him
", indignant a resident.
Thursday, units passed through the surrounding woods "
fully equipped, very concentrated ... It's impressive
" concedes a young man, rather reassured.
Read also: Double murder in the Cévennes: a call for witnesses launched to find the armed fugitive
There remains the possibility of a leak beyond the envisaged limits. Analysts dealing with the call for witnesses launched Wednesday receive sometimes distant phone calls, a witness having claimed to have seen the fugitive in Savoy. "
We are forced to make choices,
" assumes General Lettermann. "
His personality, the equipment taken from him tends to indicate that he is here, but anything is possible
." The last probability is that of suicide, of "
" as General Ott, second in command of the PACA gendarmerie, described it on Thursday. A frustrating outcome that some residents fear, for the denial of justice but also for their safety. A resident of a neighboring village projects, fatalistic: "
if he's already dead, well… We'll find him by going to the mushrooms next year. But in addition to the sadness, we will have spent months in fear