France Killed by a relative whose children she was babysitting

France: Killed by a relative whose children she was babysitting

On Thursday, a week after her disappearance, 18-year-old Sihem was found dead by a relative. But when this 39-year-old man claims to have had a “romantic relationship” with her, that connection is adamantly denied by the victim’s family.

The body of the young girl was found around 1am Thursday at the side of a secluded road in Salles-du-Gardon, a village bordering La Grand Combe in southern France, where she lived.

The investigators were led to the scene of the crime by the suspect himself, his cousin’s ex-companion, who had several previous convictions and was due to appear before the assize court on Wednesday for armed robbery.

The suspected killer, who has been in police custody since Tuesday, admitted on Wednesday evening to killing the young girl, said the prosecutor of the Republic of Nîmes, Cécile Gensac, during a press conference. The body found corresponds “in every respect” to Sihem’s description, even if the scientific investigations still have to formally confirm its identity, the magistrate specified.

The man assured “that he killed the young girl in the context of a dispute related to their romantic relationship,” explained Ms. Gensac, specifying that the suspect was charged and remanded in custody.

“This romantic relationship, nobody knew about it,” said Sihem’s family lawyer, Me Mourad Battikh, in Paris: This hypothesis “is just the suspect’s version” and it is “very likely that it never existed,” he said insisted.

“Sihem saw this gentleman like a niece saw her uncle,” Battikh said, explaining that the young girl regularly babysat the children of her cousin, the suspect’s ex-companion. The latter, who was taken into police custody at the same time as him, was released.

“Pretty as the day,” “very close to her family and anyone she could be of service to,” Sihem “always sharing, loved by everyone, full of life and with life ahead of her,” Me Battikh stated, assuring that the family shows “great dignity” despite their “deep anger” at this tragedy.

France: Killed by a relative whose children she was babysitting

“I helped a man who decided to face his grave responsibility for Sihem’s disappearance and put an end to an unbearable tension for his loved ones by guiding investigators,” said Jean-Marc Darrigade, the lawyer of the alleged killer, told AFP: “He knows his guilt is unforgivable, but his silence would only have made it worse.”

According to Ms Gensac, the suspect was convicted five times of criminal damage and eight of offenses related to driving a vehicle and was sentenced by the Gard Assizes in April 2015 to 12 years in prison for theft with a gun, a sentence he had served in February 2021 . And he was under judicial review again in a similar case, for which he was due to appear again before the same jury on Wednesday.

The young girl “had last communicated with friends around midnight on January 25” when she “was about to leave home, probably to join someone she knows,” the Nîmes prosecutor said on Wednesday, resigning the Opening of an investigation into kidnapping at forced detention.

The investigators had first explored the trail of a possible kidnapping in connection with facts in order to “get funds”. But neither the helicopter overflights of the sector, nor the use of sniffer dogs, nor the searches carried out made it possible to find them.

The number of feminicides in France increased by 20% in 2021 compared to the previous year, with 122 women killed under the beating of their spouse or ex-spouse, compared to 102 in 2020, according to a report published in August 2022 by the Interior . The lower number of 102 women killed in 2020 compared to 146 in 2019 was extraordinary without knowing what role the times of lockdown and curfews played there.