Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes: Family Murdered, Father Vanishes
The Perfect Family
The Dupont de Ligonnes family was the embodiment of the modern-day bourgeois French household in the eyes of the community. With a large house in the chic and expensive part of Nantes, France, the four children attended local private schools where upper-crust families from the coastal city sent their families. But Xavier, the father, was more than a member of the city's upper-middleclass elite; he was as also an aristocrat, with a direct linage to French nobles dating back prior to the French Revolution in the 18th century.
Xavier had to spend a lot of time away from home to manage his business ventures, which his circle of friends, relatives, and acquaintances thought were flourishing. Xavier did not have to worry about his children's care when he was away on business. His wife, Agnes, whose job as a catechism teacher at the local Blanche-de-Castille Catholic high school never kept her from being there when the children were home sick, needed someone to fix their meals, or anything else that required motherly attention.
Xavier, when he was home, led an active social life with his wife, and they both seemed to enjoy each other's company when seen in public. They often dined together with the rest of the family at a local pizzeria on Sundays. When Xavier was in town, he and his wife would occasionally take square dancing classes with other couples, who admired how happy the husband and wife seemed.
Neighbors saw the four kids running and laughing with the family Labradors in the yard. The house also served as a popular and welcoming place where the mother would serve snacks to friends her children invited over after school.
The first sign of trouble came when close friends and relatives received a letter from Xavier saying that he was an undercover agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and that the family had to move away to an undisclosed location under the witness protection program. Friends and relatives were stunned. Xavier was gone a lot for his work, but no one knew that he had ties to undercover police, much less DEA agents in the United States.
But then, very bad news followed after Xavier sent the mysterious email. When police were called to investigate the family's disappearance, investigators dropped a bombshell: the mother, the three sons, and the daughter were found dead, individually rolled-up in sleeping bags and buried underneath the patio in the backyard. Autopsy reports would later reveal that they had been drugged before they were shot, except for Agnes, who was probably shot first.
Expecting to find Xavier's body nearby the crime scene, investigators soon learned that Xavier was alive and well and had driven to southern France where credit card records revealed that he had stayed at a chic hotel for a few nights. Then, less than two weeks after his family was found murdered, Xavier abandoned his Citroen C5 near a cheap hotel almost 700 miles away from Nantes near the French Rivera. Then he vanished.
An international arrest warrant was issued for Xavier, who officials said could be anywhere. French investigators then began making inquiries about Xavier's background in hopes of uncovering clues about where they might be able to find the man whom the French press called the "Most Wanted Man in France."
The first truth to emerge was that Xavier was not an advertising executive, which the press initially reported. And he certainly was not a successful businessman, either, as investigators quickly unraveled a web of deceit and lies Xavier had crafted to maintain appearances of wealth and affluence while drowning in financial ruin.