Four days without giving any sign of life…. Until 7:15 pm this Friday when the fugitive, haggard, facing a patrol of gendarmes released: "Excuse me, I surrender". The incredible manhunt led by hundreds of gendarmes ended with the surrender "without violence" of Valentin Marcone, accused of having shot dead two men this Tuesday morning in the small village of Plantiers (Gard), before take flight on foot in the dense Cévennes forest. Since then, some 350 gendarmes have crisscrossed a vast area of 225 square kilometers, in search of this 29-year-old man, whom they knew to be equipped with a handgun - precisely the one he allegedly used on his boss and his colleague - but also of a rifle with glasses allowing him shots at long range. Passionate about weapons and shooting, he was considered dangerous.
A strategic square of 15 square kilometers of Les Plantiers particularly focused the attention of the gendarmes who scanned the area both in the air, using helicopters and drones, and on the ground using Saint-Hubert dogs, including the " exceptional truffle 'can spot traces even days after. And so it was in this area, near the church of Saint-Marcel de Fontfouillouse, a little less than 2 km north of the scene of the crime, or about a thirty-minute walk, that the man ended up walking. return in the early evening.
This Tuesday morning, the man shows up armed at work, in a sawmill in Plantiers.
When Luc Teissonnière, his 55-year-old boss, points out to him that he can say "hello", Valentin Marcone shoots him in the head.
A colleague, who tries to intervene, is also shot.
The young man then storms home, retrieves a weapon, abandons his vehicle and faints in the wild.
The investigation is open for "assassinations".
Read also Solitary, paranoid, passionate about weapons ... who is Valentin Marcone, the fugitive hunted in the Cévennes?
Since then, research has continued tirelessly in this vast area of the Cévennes mountains, not ruling out the hypothesis of a suicide of the madman. The police had also bet on the affects of the young man, broadcasting a poignant message from his father by loudspeaker, the fugitive having left without his phone. Valentin's father implored him to go there and promised him "that there would be no fire" if he chose this path.
This Friday evening, nine dog teams are still following in his footsteps and in this narrow perimeter, Valentin Marcone is in reality cornered.
According to our information, around 7 p.m. the gendarmes, assisted by dogs, passed again near the church of Saint-Marcel de Fontfouillouse.
The dogs mark, but "the fugitive had marked everywhere in this zone, blurring the tracks", specifies a source close to the investigation.
This time, his "hideout" is discovered.
It is likely there that he would have spent the last hours, perhaps even the entirety of his escape.
Saint-Hubert dogs scented the trace of the fugitive near the church of Saint-Marcel in Fontfouillouse (Gard).
In fact of hiding, a small space between stones and branches, which he ended up leaving to go down towards the south and his residence.
Without aggression and without a weapon in hand.
"He cracked, he surely did not imagine such research pressure", continues this source.
Weakened, dehydrated and hungry, Valentin Marcone had to be fed by the gendarmes, before being taken into custody.
Madness or premeditated attack?
The investigation focused in parallel since Tuesday on the reasons for this passage to the deadly act. Madness or premeditated attack? If the man did not seem to have left with food, the question of preparation remains open, as does that of an identifiable tipping point in the life of this young man married and father of a little girl aged a year. Perhaps he will explain himself during his police custody, which can last up to forty-eight hours, but before any hearing, he had to be first examined by doctors this Friday to assess his physical condition. and psychic.
Solitary and taciturn, Valentin Marcone had apparently made no explicit threat before his fatal gesture, but his behavior had apparently changed recently towards his employer.
“Relations had deteriorated due to overtime he felt he had accomplished and for which he demanded payment,” explains Éric Maurel, Nîmes prosecutor.
There would have been a rise in tension, palpable for three to four weeks.
"On the other hand, the testimonies indicating that Valentin Marcone would have come to work in bulletproof vest, were the subject of checks this Friday.
To read also Double murder in the Cévennes: "This drama is a real trauma for the whole village"
It is in any case not the first time that the young man was in delicacy with his bosses. In July 2017, Valentin Marcone obtained a one-year subsidized contract at Les Plantiers, extended by a fixed-term contract until the end of 2018. But this was not renewed, which Valentin Marcone would have experienced as a betrayal. : the mayor, he will assure, would have promised him, at his wedding in 2018, to establish him.
Employed as a village roadmender, he had actually been very litigious, going so far as to demand an inspection from the supervisory authorities… who would prove him wrong. He then brought an action at the Prud'hommes, considering his unfair dismissal and demanding, already, the payment of overtime for an amount of ... 71 euros. In March 2020, he had been entirely unsuccessful of his requests. The origin of an endless rumination and a series of complaints, against two municipal employees, a local gendarme, and even an examining magistrate of the court of Alès ... On April 28, 2021, he had learned that his complaint against the latter had been ruled inadmissible. As if stuck in a delirium of persecution, he had even recorded and then broadcast conversations with the same gendarme. For it,Valentin Marcone should also have been summoned soon to be tried for "invasion of privacy".
From his murderous gesture, several people, including the former mayor of Plantiers, had thus been put to safety. In his computer, the investigators had found photographs of several people, in particular Henri, a pensioner of Plantiers. “He had taken pictures of me without my knowledge when I was hunting and of my car, parked on the bridge. He apparently felt that she shouldn't have been there, that it was a privilege since I am part of the family of the former mayor… ”this inhabitant, who has since taken refuge with his nephew, is still astonished. . “We had been living in fear since Tuesday,” he says. It's a huge relief, we will finally be able to sleep peacefully. "