a seventh excavation campaign has started in the Ardennes

A seventh campaign of excavations began Monday in a wood of Issancourt-et-Rumel, in the Ardennes, to search for the body of Estelle Mouzin, alleged victim in 2003 of the serial killer Michel Fourniret, the family keeping “good hope” .

The research is being carried out on a plot adjoining an area already excavated in June, but on an area “almost two and a half times” larger, that is to say “four or five hectares”, “according to the indications which were given by the ex- wife of the killer Monique Olivier at the examining magistrate, and the study that the gendarmes in the field were able to make “, explained to AFP one of the lawyers of Estelle’s family, Me Didier Seban, leaving the places at the end of the day, a little before 7:00 p.m.

According to him, Monique Olivier will be present on Tuesday. On April 1, she had for the first time recognized a role in the sequestration of Estelle, kidnapped at the age of nine, on January 9, 2003 in Guermantes (Seine-et-Marne). She had specified that she had accompanied Michel Fourniret to the edge of the wood of Issancourt-et-Rumel to let him go and bury the girl’s body.

Monday, as on previous occasions, the search was unsuccessful.

The area of ​​the excavations was determined taking into account the indications of Monique Olivier “on the time she waited for Michel Fourniret” near the field, said the lawyer. “It was all timed to get to the maximum place” or the serial killer could have buried the body.

This Monday, a “small area” was explored, but “it was very much a preparation of the ground”, and “it is from Tuesday that we will dig in more depth”, said Me Seban.

The first van of the gendarmerie of the criminal identification arrived on site at the end of the morning, around 11:00 a.m., followed around 3:00 p.m. by lawyers for the family of Estelle Mouzin, Didier Seban and Corinne Herrmann, according to AFP journalists, kept away for several hundred meters.

– “Give a burial” to Estelle –

The plot had previously been largely cleared. As during the excavations of June, the justice made cut the trees, remove the stumps and observe “the layer of humus below, to check if places can appear suspicious”, before deciding to dig or not, explained further. Me Didier Seban.

Since the death of her ex-husband in May, Monique Olivier “continues to contribute to the investigation in her own way”. And while she “reiterated her confession many times (…) it is difficult to see why she would come and tell anything about the place where the body is buried,” said Me Seban.

The father of Estelle Mouzin therefore still “has the hope that Estelle’s body will be found to give it a burial, (and) the satisfaction that justice is putting the means into this investigation after having failed so much”, a- he concluded.

The village of Issancourt-et-Rumel is located some 4 km from Ville-sur-Lumes, where, still according to Monique Olivier, Michel Fourniret kidnapped, raped and killed Estelle, in a house belonging to his sister. Estelle Mouzin’s partial DNA was found in two places on a mattress seized in 2003 in this house.

Sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of seven young women or adolescent girls between 1987 and 2001, Michel Fourniret finally admitted in March 2020 his responsibility in the disappearance of Estelle Mouzin. He died at 79 in Paris on May 10.

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