Serial killer Michel Fourniret died Monday, May 10 at the age of 79. The criminal, who suffered from heart problems and Alzheimer's disease, was serving two life sentences for the murder of eight people. But the other crimes he confessed, such as that of little Estelle Mouzin in 2003, or which bear his mark will go unpunished forever. A native of Sedan, Fourniret had a long career as a sexual predator before becoming one of France's most prolific serial killers. He acted with the complicity of his then wife, Monique Olivier. Sentenced for complicity in four of the murders of her ex-husband, she was indicted on the same charge in four disappearances.
A century and a half earlier, another killer hit the headlines and took some of his mysteries to his grave: Martin Dumollard, considered the first European serial-killer, was also rampant in eastern France.
She is stretched out on the forecourt of the church of Tramoyes (Ain), completely naked, her right arm bent as if to modestly cover her breast. The young woman seems to pose, a bit nonchalant, under the watchful eyes of Camille Bernabé who is active behind her daguerreotype. No need to ask him not to move: despite the care he has taken to give it a little life, it is a corpse that the photographer immortalizes at the beginning of March 1855. The body of the unfortunate is as white as the linen that protects it from the glazed paving. Not his face, swollen, blackened, devastated. We hardly dare to imagine the ordeal she suffered.
The person responsible for this macabre staging is Judge Genod.
By summoning the photographer from Lyon, a pioneer of this emerging art, he hopes to keep a precise memory of the victim before she is buried.
And, ultimately, give this stranger an identity.
In the meantime, this is what he knows: a small twenty years old, brunette, found on February 28 by four hunters in a thicket in the wood of Montaverne, on the edge of Tramoyes.
Young maids for victims, and always the same bait
His daring paid off.
A few months later, the body is finally identified: Marie Baday, a servant whom her boss was the last person to see alive.
On the day of his disappearance, Marie had told him that she had found a place for more than 200 francs a year, and had vanished.
A few days later, in March 1855, Judge Genod was told the story of a young woman assaulted on the evening of March 4 in Mionnay, a neighboring town. Terrorized, she found refuge on a farm and delivered an edifying testimony to her saviors. The servant had been approached at Place de la Guillotière in Lyon by a man in his fifties who had offered her a very well-paid job on behalf of his wealthy boss. They had made an appointment a few days later at the station and then had walked through the undergrowth, until the suspicious behavior of her chaperone made her run away. Olympe Alubert, that's the name of the survivor, delivers a crucial detail: the man of about 1.70 m has a “swollen lip”. A suspect is imprisoned, but after a few months, we have to face the facts:this is not the correct one.
In the meantime, the real-false tout has not been idle.
Josèphe Charletty in September, Jeanne-Marie Bourgeois in October, Victorine Perrin in November, all were approached then attacked by a man in a blue blouse who baited them with the promise of a well-paid job far from the city.
They had their lives saved, but the fear of their lives.
For three years, the ranger is forgotten - unless he has succeeded in silencing his victims - then begins to crack down again from January 1859.
Read alsoThe affair of the "Golden State Killer" or the extraordinary hunt for a serial killer
His last attempt took place on May 28, 1861 according to the same
250 francs a year?
Marie Pichon, 27, accepts, collects her things in a large trunk and accompanies her by train to Montluel.
After dark, she worries that they still haven't arrived.
And suddenly understands when he pulls out a kind of lasso.
She runs screaming towards a farm and tells it all.
This time, a cabaret-keeper recognizes the suspect by the description given of him: Martin Dumollard, a miserable 51-year-old day laborer whom everyone in Dagneux oddly calls "Raymond".
On June 2, a squad of rural guards and imperial gendarmes arrested him at his home.
Despite his denials, he was formally recognized by Marie Pichon and sent to the hole.
Three murders and nine proven assaults
The search of his hovel brought to light a real thrift store: lace, shawls, petticoats, shoes… nearly 650 women's clothes.
If some belong to known victims, then who are the others?
Investigators also learn that Marie-Anne, his wife, knew everything about her husband's actions.
It is she who will point out to the gendarmes the body of another victim, who will forever remain "the unknown of the wood of Montmain".
A third body, that of Marie-Eulalie Bussod, who disappeared in February 1861, was discovered in another grove in the area.
The poor woman was beaten up, raped and then buried alive, as the earth encrusted under her fingernails proves.
Marie-Anne Dumollard knew everything about her killer husband's actions.
The Holbarn Archive / Leemage
Three murders, nine assaults. It is undoubtedly much more, but enough to condemn him to death, on February 1, 1862, at the end of a trial in Bourg-en-Bresse where the defendant spent his time eating and performing. His wife will be sentenced to twenty years. To be beautiful, however, was not won for this man with a particularly ungrateful physique. With this sudden celebrity, did not the "killer of maids" hold revenge on his poor life of misery, theft and murder? Even the great Victor Hugo will mention his name in “Les Misérables”, which begins to appear three weeks after his execution, on March 7, 1862.
That morning in Montluel, the chaplain who accompanied him to the foot of the scaffold thought he had found some comforting words. “Courage, you are going to dine with the angels at the Eternal Banquet”. Dumollard had reserved his last devil for him. "Go ahead then, Monsieur le Cure, you will have the table set." "