Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michel Fourniret Serial Killer

Michel Fourniret — Serial Killer

In May 2004, just as Belgium magistrates were wrapping up the high-profile pedophile murder case involving the notorious Marc Dutroux, a new pedophile murder case garnered international attention. Belgian prosecutors revealed that French carpenter and known pedophile Michel Fourniret, 62, confessed to murdering six people. Fourniret claimed that his victims were not exclusively children but also included young women and a man.

On June 30 wrote, "Fourniret's confession came shortly after his wife Monique Olivier denounced her husband to police, saying he was responsible for nine murders in France and Belgium." The article further stated that Olivier came forward after seeing convicted pedophile Marc Dutroux's wife get sentenced to 30 years in prison for "trying to cover up her murderer husband's crimes."

At the time Fourniret confessed to the murders, he was already serving time in a Belgian jail for trying to abduct a 13-year-old Congolese girl. During his confession to police, he admitted to murdering Marie-Ascension Kirombo, 13, Elisabeth Brichet, 12, Natacha Danais, 13, Isabelle Laville, 17, Jeanne-Marie Desramault, 22, and Farida Hellegouache, age unknown. On July 1, 2004, wrote that Fourniret had denied the three other murders his wife claimed he committed, which included Celine Saison, 18, and Manyana Thumpong, 13, who disappeared repsectivley in the French Ardennes in May 2000 and in 2001 and were later found in unmarked graves. Another victim that Olivier claims her husband murdered although he denied it, is the couple's former au pair who remains unidentified but is believed to have been 16 and of Belgian origin. Olivier claimed that she "came home to find her husband and the babysitter naked and that he strangled the young girl to silence her."

French Ardennes on map
French Ardennes on map

Olivier told police that she was not involved in any of the crimes, although she was aware of them. reported that when her husband told her he was "going out to hunt," she "knew it meant he was looking for another victim." Fourniret allegedly would drive around looking for potential victims. When he would spot a vulnerable woman or young girl he would lure her to his car, rape and then later kill her.

Monique Olivier
Monique Olivier

Even though Olivier claimed to have not been involved in the abductions and murders, police believed that she played a vital role. An article in The Independent by John Lichfield reported that Olivier "later accompanied by her baby son, Selim, were often used as bait to put potential victims at ease." Once the victims were abducted, Lichfield said that Fourniret would order Olivier to watch him rape and kill them. Olivier was eventually arrested for assisting in the kidnappings and failing to help the victims.

Manyana Thumpong
Manyana Thumpong

On July 1, 2004, Fourniret finally admitted to police that he murdered Celine Saison and Manyana Thumpong, although he continued to deny the murder of his former au pair. Moreover, he claimed to have robbed and shot an unidentified man at a French highway rest stop. His confessions brought the total number of confirmed victims to nine. Police suspected that Fourniret was likely responsible for many more deaths not only in Belgium and France but also in other European countries. reported that from early on in the investigation, Dutch police revealed that they were trying to establish a link between Fourniret and several unsolved disappearances and murders in the province of Limburg. The cases bore many similarities to those in which Fourniret was known to have been involved. Moreover, he was known to have visited the area around the times of the disappearances and murders.

Police in Denmark, Germany and Austria are also conducting investigations into Fourniret, who is believed to have possibly murdered young girls and women in their countries. So far there is no evidence tying him to these particular crimes.

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