A little reserved smile.
A blue blindfold to match her forget-me-not eyes.
The face of Marion Wagon marked a generation of children and parents.
The first remember the posters plastered at supermarket checkouts, in police stations, train stations and even for a while, on millions of bottles of milk.
The second still shiver at the idea of going through what Marion's parents have been going through for almost 25 years, when the little girl disappeared.
Agen (Lot-et-Garonne), November 14, 1996, it is noon.
Marion, 10, comes out of Sembel school and is preparing to walk the 400 m that separate her from her parents' apartment, where she has to have lunch like every noon.
Despite the rain, the blonde with bobbed hair takes advantage, as usual, of this little ten minutes of freedom to scamper down to the kindergarten courtyard opposite, where she likes to ride the toboggan.
It is at the foot of this playground that Marion will be seen for the last time.
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At home, the table is set.
But the youngest of three siblings will never appear.
At 1:15 p.m., Michel and Françoise Wagon notified the police.
Where has Marion gone, that cautious little girl who would never have gotten into a stranger's car?
A dog team is dispatched to the scene and the dogs mark the girl's usual route.
In the hours and days which follow the cellars, the wells, the trunks of the cars are searched.
Nearly 1,200 houses and apartments are searched, 5,000 schedules checked.
The neighbors are heard, the school staff, the parents who came to pick up their little one from school that afternoon.
The islander in charge of traffic in front of the school exit assures him, he did not see Marion this Thursday.
His parents are the subject of terrible rumors
The family apartment is also combed through and Marion's DNA is taken: hair taken from a belt. Seal # 5. The days go by and Marion doesn't come back. Disturbing testimonies are preserved. A woman will recount having noticed, on leaving her construction site on the day of the disappearance, that a white station wagon was blocking traffic in the street of the school. Another student's parent will also recount seeing Marion one day, alone on a sidewalk. Behind her, an individual seems to follow the girl. But the trail ends there.
Parents are also heard. The trail of possible mistreatment on their part is quickly ruled out, but they are carried away in the drum of the media washer. Objects of the most terrible rumors, the Wagon parents, this modest and discreet couple, he a metalworker, stand firm. They, who have faced the thousands of letters and dozens of calls, sometimes odious, from people persuaded to know where what happened to the girl, take part in the marches every year, respond to invitations to TV shows ...
Convinced that Marion is still alive.
Françoise relives the cries of children heard that day at the foot of her building, imagining those of her younger daughter.
The mother of the family also always keeps in mind this feeling of having been observed at her work in the days preceding the disappearance.
Or the memory of this man with a look a little too insistent on Marion a few days before his disappearance ...
Interrogation under hypnosis
First entrusted to the police, the investigation landed in the hands of the gendarmes in April 1997. Forty soldiers formed the Marion cell. "We see Marion, we eat Marion, we sleep Marion," says one of them. The Canal Latéral, one of the rivers that crosses Agen, is emptied. All avenues are explored. Even the craziest. According to testimonies, the little girl with blue eyes is recognized on the Costa Brava in Spain, in Portugal in a community of gypsies, or in Brittany with tourists.
In July 1997, the wife of an Air France captain said she heard a little girl say in a marina in Martinique: “My name is Marion and I want to go back to Agen.
It must be checked.
Two investigators fly to the West Indies.
But despite three weeks spent surveying the Trois-Îlets marina, the gendarmes did not get their hands on the blonde.
The West Indian trail is closed.
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Now heard as witnesses, Marion's parents are sometimes interviewed until late at night, a treatment more often inflicted on suspects.
In September 1997, the investigating judges even attempted to interrogate Françoise Wagon under hypnosis ...
The years go by, the examining magistrates follow one another and the Marion cell goes from forty to ten gendarmes.
The latter widen the circle of their research.
To understand their working method, the investigation director meets those who found the murderer of Caroline Dickinson, this little Briton killed in Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine) in 1996 or the gendarmes who resolved at the end of the years. 90 the case of the disappeared from Mourmelon (Marne).
The portrait of the girl is aged and disseminated to the media.
In 2005, the track of the predator Michel Fourniret is a time exploited.
The gendarmes travel to Belgium to question his wife, Monique Olivier.
But the hearing is summary, the track quickly dismissed.
The DNA of the unusable girl
For their part, Marion's parents face deep distress. "Nothing is moving", it seems to them. In 25 years of investigation, the girl's family has only met a dozen times the magistrates in charge of the investigation. The last three in 2001, 2013 and December 2020 ... "After being mistreated, they were perfectly ignored", laments Me Georges Catala, who has been advising "exhausted parents" since the first hour.
Acts of inquiry, perhaps less regular than 25 years ago, have nevertheless been carried out.
To date, the Wagon file has 9,000 ribs.
In 2016, Marion's DNA must be used again.
At the criminal hematology laboratory in Bordeaux, the verdict falls: the hair of seal No. 5 is unusable.
The hairy elements are not extended by a bulb.
What DNA have we compared for all these years the genetic elements gleaned during the investigation?
Since at least 2006, it seems that Françoise Wagon's DNA has been used, making it more difficult to obtain convincing results.
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But it was not until February 2021 that Marion's parents learned about it when their lawyer asked the new investigating judge for comparisons with the unknown DNA found on the mattress of serial killer Michel Fourniret. "We could not imagine that there was no DNA from Marion", reacts Me Catala, who regrets: "These complicated investigations come up against the examining magistrates who come and go, with the weariness of the investigators and to the faults which mark out the investigations. "
Twenty-five years later, in what appears to be an absurdity of justice, precious objects of the girl were given to the laboratory. The prosecutor's office in Agen tempers: "In any event, if no DNA is found, this has had and will have no effect on the course of the investigation since the courts are in possession of the DNA of the parents, which makes it possible to make comparisons and identifications. "