Investigators are wondering about possible additional victims. Justice launched a call for witnesses on Thursday, after the arrest of a man suspected of trying to kidnap a minor in Mont-de-Marsan, on May 2, and since confused by his DNA for a similar case dating from 2010 in Pau. According to the Mont-de-Marsan prosecutor's office, the man, aged 38, was placed in pre-trial detention.
He is suspected of two kidnapping attempts, one on a 13-year-old girl in May in the Landes, and the other on a 21-year-old woman, thirteen years earlier, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, prosecutor Olivier Janson announced at a press conference.
It is "the same violent modus operandi thirteen years apart," added the magistrate, describing "someone who tries to force (his victims) into a car, gagging them with a moving tape."
'Particularly itinerant' suspect
According to the prosecutor, the suspect was "particularly itinerant in France" during his life: Mont-de-Marsan, Bordeaux, Pau, Besançon, Dijon and Corsica in 2018 before returning to Mont-de-Marsan in 2022. The prosecutor's office calls on potential victims of similar events, who have not reported anything in the past, to contact the police. "We know, for example, that in the summer of 2022 he moved alone in a motorhome, across the France," said the prosecutor.
The individual, born in Evreux and raised in the Landes, had assaulted a 13-year-old schoolgirl near a school on May 2. His car parked on the sidewalk with the trunk open, the suspect had grabbed the teenager who passed him by the face, before gagging her to get her into his trunk. However, the minor had managed to tear off the tape and alert, by her screams, a couple in a nearby street.
Fleeing at the wheel of his vehicle, the suspect had hit a lamppost and left traces allowing investigators to identify his car, a white Ford Focus. The DNA found on the tape turned out to be the same as that taken in 2010 in Pau. The man, who "admitted all the facts of 2010 and 2023", according to the prosecutor's office, "did not explain his motivations but highlighted a certain sexual frustration".
Additional investigations will be conducted under the aegis of an investigating judge.