Eight-year-old schoolgirl Maelys de Araujo vanished from a wedding in the Alps in August
A former soldier has admitted killing eight-year-old French schoolgirl Maelys de Araujo. who vanished from a wedding in the Alps in August.
Her remains have been found, a prosecutor announced on Wednesday, after 34-year-old Nordahl Lelandais agreed to co-operate with the police in the investigation after a trace of her blood had been found in his car.
Lelandais, 34. admitted killing Maëlys de Araujo ‘involuntarily’ after she went missing during a wedding in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, north of Grenoble.
Lelandais was taken for the first time since he was charged to the scene of the crime on Wednesday under a heavy police escort, Parismatch.com reported.
His change of heart was thought to be after a trace of Maelys’s blood was found in the boot of his car, according to a source who spoke to the AFP new agency on condition of anonymity.
The unmarried suspect from the village of Domessin, 18 miles from Chambery, was also charged in December over the April killing of a hitchhiking soldier.
Lelandais’ alleged links to two murders have prompted police to begin poring over files of other missing people in the region amid fears that he could be a serial killer.
Grenoble prosecutor Jean-Yves Coquillat said that investigators found some of Maelys De Araujo’s remains Wednesday in a snow-covered ravine, six months after she went missing.
Nordahl Lelandais is reported to have agreed to co-operate with the police in the investigation after a trace of Maelys de Araujo’s blood was found in his car
Police were reported to have found the buried bones of the dead child on Wednesday
French Gendarmes stand by a vehicle along a road near Domessin in the Eastern French region of Savoie on February 14, 2018 during the transport of suspected killer Nordahl Lelandais, a former military dog trainer, to the alleged scene of the murder
French Gendarmes block road access with a vehicle near Saint-Franc, in the Eastern French region of Savoie on February 14, 2018, where a forest is being searched in relation with the August 2017 disappearance of the eight-year-old girl
French Gendarmes along a road near Domessin in the Eastern French region of Savoie on February 14, 2018 during the transport of suspected killer Nordahl Lelandais to the alleged scene of the crime
The prosecutor said Lelandais told investigators on Wednesday that he killed her accidentally, hid the body and then returned to the wedding party before eventually dumping the body in the ravine.
Lelandais had also been a guest at the wedding in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, near the mountain city of Chambery – but it is not clear if he was formally invited or not.
The prosecutor said Lelandais did not explain the circumstances of the girl’s death. A former army dog handler, Lelandais had already been charged in relation to her disappearance.
One unconfirmed report said that police dogs found the girl’s skull and later her bones in the Chartreuse Massif, about an hour from the wedding location.
Lelandais was charged with kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl in September.
At the time he was reported to be a friend of the groom who turned up uninvited to the wedding reception.
Lelandais was initially charged with ‘kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention of a minor of less than 15 years’ in connection with Maelys’ disappearance
Volunteers: Thousands of people take part in searches for Maelys after she went missing
Time running out: No signs of the missing girl were found last year
His Lawyer confirmed last year that while a trace of her DNA had been found on the dashboard, his client ‘completely denied’ kidnapping her.
He said several DNA traces, including that of his client, had been found on the dashboard and that someone who was in contact with the child could have ‘transferred’ her DNA in to the vehicle.
He also suggested that the children could have climbed into the car unbeknownst to the driver, noting that all the windows were left down during the party.
Police searched woodland near the wedding reception venue where Maëlys went missing
Suspect: The man in police custody is reportedly a 34-year-old man who turned up to the wedding reception uninvited late on Saturday evening