Christophe Baroche is a psychologist, specializing in psycho-criminological behavioral analysis at the Central Office for Violence against Persons at the central management of the PJ, a "profiler" in everyday language.
As such, he works with the judicial police to assist investigators in determining the profiles of missing victims and those of suspects.
These analyzes thus make it possible to nourish the lines of investigation and to prepare in advance the interrogations of the investigators.
He speaks here about feminicides by companion or husband, in the particular cases where the latter, convicted or even indicted - presumed innocent for the latter - find themselves in a particular criminal scenario.
That of the respondent who for months denied the facts, or even made a body disappear.
Without prejudging the guilt of Cédric Jubillar, presumed innocent, it is interesting to note that in several recent cases of feminicide, some of those implicated, acted by disguising a disappearance murder or by attributing it to another and are even went so far as to participate in research or white marches.
What is going on in the minds of these men?
Alexia Daval case: tears in the confession of a husband in a lie
There is always a particular context: conflict or separation. The conflict could be the prelude to a possible separation, even if it is not yet considered. Sometimes this is accompanied by violence or threats already installed, even control, but not always. The spring is that the loss of the other, most often of the spouse - the opposite case is very rare - is unacceptable, properly unthinkable, impossible to admit.
There is sometimes the fear that the mate will perform what the future murderer fears, namely to be left.
These crimes are not always premeditated, these acts can occur out of anger.
We have long spoken of a crime of passion, which is improper, because even if these are acts committed in the emotion, it is not love.
And if it's love, it's that of oneself, on a narcissistic flaw awakened by a prospect of abandonment.
It is more tolerable for these individuals to make the other disappear than to disappear from the life of the other.
Why then disguise the crime?
In the case of the total disappearance of the body, the other is totally annihilated, he no longer exists, as if he had never existed. From a pragmatic point of view, it is also a way of slowing down the investigation and cutting the link between the victim and the perpetrator. There may also be in the mind of the murderer the idea - obviously false - that it was their partner who pushed him, that she is responsible, that he is not going to waste the rest of his life. As the inner psychic tension has disappeared in the passage to the act by suppressing the presence of the other, the murderer can say that he has not been abandoned, that seems more acceptable to him. He can leave, but he is not left. It is a way of controlling the other like an object, of keeping power even in death. We can see it as both a psychic safeguard,social and judicial.
What does persistence in lying mean?
These profiles are taken in their own scenario, they then have to be the grieving husband: she fled with a lover, she went abroad etc.
The criminal thesis of spousal murder should not be considered, so we have to play a role.
It even happens that some are inspired by previous stories.
Others can go as far as denial and end up believing that nothing happened, like a nightmare when waking up, a kind of cleavage is set up.
They must “get back to normal” at all costs and the inner tension that has disappeared helps them to do so.
What happens when the interpellation intervenes and that factual elements, clues, are presented to them?
It should be remembered that there are more cases where men, if they do not commit suicide immediately after their act, denounce themselves.
For the others, those who hide the facts, it happens that some crack in police custody and confess.
It is a relief for them.
Finally, there are the toughest, rarer ones, which are generally the responsibility of particular personalities.
They are not ready to lose everything, so they persist in lying.
They don't assume.
Losing everything is also losing the rest of your life, some of the relatives who believed them, children, parents etc.
If they do not feel guilty, it is because they convince themselves that they have been pushed to the limit.
It is the image of themselves in the eyes of others that counts, what they fear is shame.
How does your role as a psycho criminologist help this type of investigation?
We intervene at different stages of the investigation, not necessarily from the start, at the request of investigators or magistrates, investigating judges or prosecutors who need a different perspective either on the victims or on the suspects, or both.
Obviously it is more complicated when there is no body.
In these cases, it is necessary to focus on the context of the disappearance to understand the motive.
Was there a risk of suicide?
What was it based on?
Could something about the person's personality explain a voluntary disappearance? So we look at all the personality elements, we try to do a psychological study.
Delphine Jubillar case: investigation into a mysterious disappearance
What about the suspects?
Our mission is to provide information on the personality of the suspect (s) and to build an approach strategy with the investigators.
We determine the affective mode of the suspect, his way of being attached to others: possessive?
His cognitive mode: how he reasons, his intellectual level, his logic - Cartesian or not - his interests etc.
His relational mode: is he lonely, in a dense, friendly or professional relational network… And also his temperament: brawler, impulsive, a judicial past or not etc.
We then have a fairly precise image on which to rely.
How do you use this data?
It all serves to approach the person. These are valuable indications. I cannot reveal everything about our ways of working, but what must be understood is that the more we can anticipate what he will answer during the hearings, the more chances we have of moving the investigation forward.