Could the kidnapping of little Mia have been avoided?
The question arises from reading the investigations carried out by the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) on the ultra-conspiratorial commando at the origin of the kidnapping of the girl on April 13 in the Vosges.
While it is established that the agents contributed to the arrest of the perpetrators by providing valuable information to the gendarmes, they also had serious clues upstream of their imminent act.
And this, thanks to the deployment of very extensive surveillance means just a few days before the kidnapping.
Some members of the small group were indeed in the sights of the DGSI for several weeks.
In the course of their activities, especially on the Internet, internal intelligence agents identify the connections between these radicalized anti-system activists, followers of extreme conspiracy theories, who say they are ready to carry out violent actions to destabilize the state.
Among the many projects mentioned, attacks against vaccination centers, public finance centers or ministries.
If no kidnapping is mentioned, they also seem obsessed with the fate of children in care, allegedly in the hands of pedophile and satanic networks.
Lola Montemaggi organized the kidnapping of her 8-year-old daughter Mia, of whom she no longer had custody.
Two men particularly attract attention: Sylvain P., alias “Pitchoun”, a 57-year-old Parisian pianist, and Clément R., alias “le Corbeau”, a 23-year-old young man from Seine-et-Marne.
Both will be part of the future commando.
Because of their keen interest in explosives and their determination, the agents decide to transmit the information collected to the anti-terrorism justice system.
On April 2, the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office (Pnat) was notified and opened a preliminary investigation for "criminal terrorist association".
Telephone tapping and physical surveillance
Investigations are accelerating. So that the police officers of the DGSI obtained the authorization to wiretap the suspects and even to install a hidden camera in front of the home of Sylvain P., located avenue Jean-Jaurès in the XIXth arrondissement of Paris. They will also set up physical surveillance. On Friday April 9, four days before the kidnapping of the girl, an agent was in hiding in front of Sylvain P.'s home. On his arrival around 8:20 p.m., the official noticed that a C15 utility vehicle, green in color, was parked not far from the building. This vehicle, identified as belonging to Clément R., will be used during the removal.
At 11:06 p.m., the police saw Sylvain P. and Clément R. leaving the residence together in full violation of the curfew. One is concealed by a hat, the other by a hood. He decides to take them in spinning. The duo climbs aboard the C15, drives about 700 meters then rushes into an underground car park in a building located rue de Thionville. For the sake of discretion, the official follows them on foot. He waits out of sight and listens: the sound of a metal door slamming melts at night.
Ten minutes later, Sylvain P. and Clément R. come out of the car park on foot, without their vehicle.
The policeman goes down to level -3 and discovers that they have parked it in a box closed with a padlock.
The discovery of this place is not trivial: during his custody, one of the alleged kidnappers of Mia will reveal that it is in this box belonging to Sylvain P. that the commando organized its conspiratorial meetings to prepare their project.
Mia affair: megalomaniac guru, commando operation ... when conspiracy leads to kidnapping (part 1)
The next morning, Saturday April 10, Sylvain P. telephones a man who will later be identified as Jean-Luc W., alias “Jeannot”. This sixty-year-old from Seine-Saint-Denis, psychologically fragile, is now suspected of having been the driver during the operation. Their conversation is very disturbing. She suggests that they will leave the next day for a mysterious mission. "Plan something to enlighten you if you can, intimate Pitchoun to Jeannot. And then uh, something to piss. Excuse me for being trivial, but you have to take three bottles of water. Because above all, we do not piss in nature. "
The two men agree that Sylvain P. picks up Jean-Luc W. the next day, Porte des Lilas.
He will then be in the company of the Raven and will circulate in a vehicle "which will be of another color".
Understand: made up.
Before hanging up, Sylvain P. asks his interlocutor to put himself "on tapping", which can be interpreted as the continuation of the conversation on an occult line.
The call is intercepted by the DGSI.
But it will not be exploited until much later.
Geolocation devices placed on their phones
However, on Sunday April 11 in the morning, Pitchoun, Jeannot and the Raven left the Paris region and took the direction of eastern France. After a night under the stars, they join two other accomplices in the Vosges as well as Mia's mother, Lola Montemaggi. The rest is known: on Wednesday April 13, around 11:30 am, several men, including Pitchoun, pose as youth protection officers and kidnap Mia from her grandmother. They then go on the run, without being worried.
Why was the commando no longer under active surveillance at that time? At the DGSI, long before the kidnapping alert was triggered, we seem to realize that the targets have escaped vigilance. An agent urgently transcribed the suspicious telephone conversation of Sylvain P. and Jean-Luc W. of April 10. At 5 p.m., another official went to the control room of the Paris police headquarters to view the video surveillance images. He can only note that, on the morning of April 11, as announced on the tapes, Sylvain P. and Clément R. effectively left the home of the first on board a C15 repainted in white and then recovered Jean-Luc W .
Their trail is lost near the ring road.
The agents bite their fingers: they had placed real-time geolocation devices of the suspects' phones.
But the latter left with other devices.
No beacon had, however, been installed on the utility to track its movements.
Mia affair: megalomaniac guru, commando operation ... when conspiracy leads to kidnapping (Part 2)
The evening of Mia's kidnapping, around 8 p.m., the Epinal prosecutor decided to trigger a kidnapping alert and entrusted the investigation to the gendarmes of the Nancy research section. In the evening, the national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office and the DGSI take up ties with their counterparts to inform them that they are investigating a team of three people suspected of being involved in the kidnapping. They specify that "their profile is particularly worrying" and provide the description of the C15, even before the gendarmes receive testimonies from people saying they saw such a vehicle near the home of Mia's grandmother. "We fell from our chair," says a source familiar with the discussions. At that time, we did not imagine a terrorist trail at all. We had the feeling that the DGSI already knew everything. "
When contacted, several anti-terrorism sources recall the impossibility of physically monitoring all the targets in real time in real time. "We were not aware of a characterized project, otherwise we would of course have intervened upstream", assures a senior official, stressing that the group mentioned very many projects "with vague outlines". Six days after her kidnapping, Mia was finally found safe and sound in Switzerland.