All the horror of the tragedy that occurred on Monday is beginning to take shape. The two little twins were due to celebrate their 7th birthday on Thursday, three days after their body was discovered next to their mother's in Grand'Combe-Châteleu (Doubs). According to the first elements of the investigation, delivered by the public prosecutor of Besançon, Étienne Manteaux, the girls were asphyxiated while their mother hanged herself. An "absolutely dramatic" case, deplores the magistrate.
It was on Monday morning that the alarm was raised: the twins were not in class and their mother, a 51-year-old childminder, did not open the door to the parents of the children she had to babysit. The girls' 50-year-old father was alerted and alerted the gendarmes and firefighters himself when he found the door closed.
By smashing a window, the firefighters entered the house. Upstairs, they discovered the mother, hanging from a beam by an electric cable that had given way, leading investigators to believe it was a suicide. His airway is also blocked by tape. A roll of tape and a box cutter were found near her. She died "probably from slow asphyxiation."
'Nicely dressed' in their mother's bed
In their mother's room, the "nicely dressed" girls lie in bed, tucked by a blanket. The children were asphyxiated, according to autopsies, said the public prosecutor of Besançon, who was unable to say whether they were suffocated by a pillow or in a bathtub. Additional tests should be carried out. One of the girls had a wound to the back of her head, probably inflicted by a third party.
It is the hypothesis of the murder by the mother of the two girls and then of suicide that is retained for the time being by the investigators. The girls' father, who has been separated from their mother since 2021 and is in the midst of divorce proceedings, was hospitalized after the discovery.
Photos on the heart, the wedding invitation in the bathtub
On the heart of the deceased mother, investigators found photos of her pregnant, as well as her twin daughters. In the bathtub, which was partly filled and loaded with bleach capsules, a computer, a mobile phone and a wedding invitation were discovered. Clues of a "symbolic dimension", which lead the prosecutor Étienne Manteaux to think that "it is the divorce that could have caused all this". But no paper trail was found by investigators.
While the mother had initially been granted custody of the children, she had alternated custody since March 2023. She had been the subject of a reminder of the law after "malicious phone calls, emails and emails, very numerous, often aggressive" to the father of the girls, born thanks to a very long course of medically assisted reproduction (ART) a little less than 7 years ago. "She was very angry with her husband who had decided to leave," the prosecutor added.
"They are a couple who have known each other for about 20 years and have been married for 2023 years. (...) The separation was extremely painful," the magistrate continued. According to the first elements of the investigation, the mother feared the consequent drop in her income after the departure of her husband, an employee in a watch factory in Switzerland with a very comfortable income until <>." The father's income had "significantly" fallen since then and the alimony he paid to his wife had to be reduced.