The infamous Gregory murder case in France reopens 36 years later

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Thirty-six years after his death, the unsolved murder case of four-year-old Gregory has reopened, with new witnesses interviewed this month.
Grégory Villemin was found drowned in Vologne in the Vosges region of eastern France on October 16, 1984. He was fully dressed, his hands and feet tied and a hat rolled up over his face, 7 km from his native village from Lépanges-sur -Vologne.

Earlier today, his mother called the police to report his disappearance in a sandbox in the backyard where he was playing, after receiving an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to have taken the boy away.

The case horrified and gripped France, as the twists and turns of the investigation indicated that fighting between family members in the small village where Grégory lived was a likely motive for his murder.

Mysterious threats before and after death

For years before Gregory was taken away, his parents were tracked down by anonymous and threatening phone calls that indicated the caller had detailed knowledge of their extended family.

The day after her death, her parents received a letter saying, “I hope you die of grief. Your money can’t bring it back. I have been avenged. It was one of some 2,000 poisoned pen letters sent to family members and detectives throughout the investigation.

The threatening phone calls also continued, with family members saying they received anonymous calls from a deep, hoarse voice who had called themselves. the crow (the crow).

Inconclusive investigations

Over the years, DNA testing on Gregory’s clothes, the ropes used to tie him up, and the stamps on the letters of the poisoned quill have proven inconclusive.

Throughout the investigation, Grégory’s paternal grandparents were questioned as witnesses, along with more than 100 others.

Her aunt, Ginette Villemin, was arrested but later released. His mother was also charged with the murder of her son, but later exonerated. And in 1993, his father was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting his cousin, Bernard Laroche, after Mr Laroche’s 15-year-old sister accused him of being the murderer, to come back on the accusation a few days later.

Jacqueline and Marcel Jacob – Grégory’s great aunt and uncle – became the prime suspect in 2017 after modern analytical techniques led police to believe the letters and calls were orchestrated by a man and a woman. However, the evidence was inconclusive and they were never charged with the crime.

The couple have always maintained their innocence.

Case reopened with new witnesses and new technologies

Now the case has been reopened with French media reporting that a new angle is being explored – the possibility that Bernard Laroche kidnapped Gregory, before handing him over to the Jacobs.

A new suspect is also reportedly under investigation, but his identity has not been revealed.

Since the beginning of this month, new witnesses have been called along with detectives and journalists who worked on the case who are also expected to be questioned.

Advances in handwriting analysis may also yield new results. A Swiss company specializing in the subject has been called in to analyze some of the thousands of handwritten threats that have been sent to family members over the years.

Grégory’s aunt is also the key to the case

There have also been developments regarding Muriel Bolle – the then teenage sister of Bernard Laroche who first told police he was guilty of the crime. Ms Bolle retracted her accusation and even published a book in 2018 titled Break the silence who maintained his innocence and that of his brother.

In that document, she claimed that the police forced her to bring the charge. The courts have since ruled that Ms. Bolle’s initial testimony in 1984 was invalid because she was questioned without the presence of counsel.

Neither Ms Bolle nor Mr and Mrs Jacob have so far been called to testify in the new inquiries.

And the former lawyer for Gregory’s parents, Mr. Thierry Moser, told a news source La Depeche it may take some time for new results to appear.

He said: “The investigations have reopened and I am confident in the concrete and effective results of these investigations. But we still have to be patient.

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