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Michel Fourniret: French serial killer dead at 79

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Serial killer Michel Fourniret is driven back under heavy police protection to the Charleville-Mezieres courthouse, northern France, Wednesday 14 May, 2008.
Serial killer Michel Fourniret is driven back under heavy police protection to the Charleville-Mezieres courthouse, northern France, Wednesday 14 May, 2008.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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Michel Fourniret, one of France's most notorious serial killers, has died at a hospital jail, the public prosecutor in Paris has said.

Known as the "Ogre of the Ardennes", the serial killer died at the age of 79 on Monday at 3 pm in the Pitié-Salpétrière secure inter-regional hospital unit (UHSI) in the French capital, Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz told AFP.

Euronews has contacted the public prosecutor for further comment.

Fourniret had been hospitalised since April 28 in the care unit of Fresnes prison, where he had been serving out two life sentences for killing eight girls and young women.

The prosecutor said an investigation into the exact cause of Fourniret's death had been launched, with the 3rd district of the judicial police taking on the probe.

According to Le Parisien, which first reported that Fourniret had been hospitalised, the 79-year-old had suffered from heart problems and Alzheimer's disease.

What did Michel Fourniret do?

Fourniret was found guilty in 2008 for the rape, attempted rape and killings of seven girls and young women between the years of 1987 and 2001.

He had been arrested in 2003 after a 13-year-old girl was able to escape from his van and called the police.

The serial killer was sentenced to life imprisonment and later received a second life sentence in 2018 after being convicted in the murder of a mobster's companion.

In March 2020, he also later confessed that he was behind the death of Estelle Mouzin, a 9-year-old girl who went missing in 2003 in Guermantes.

To this day, Estelle's body still has not been found, despite widespread searches.

Still under investigation

There are also questions left unanswered around other disappearances that Fourniret was under investigation for right up until his death.

Among them are the disappearances of Marie-Angèle Domece and Joanna Parrish.

In December, Fourniret was further implicated in the case of Lydie Logé, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared in 1993 in Orne.

After learning that Fourniret had been near the end of his life in the days before his death, Didier Seban, a lawyer for several families of the missing, including Estelle, told AFP that he was filled with "disappointment" that so many families still have yet to receive answers on what happened to their loved ones and where their bodies lie.

He said he felt disappointment for the families, but also "disappointment for justice".