Ex-gendarme identified as 'pockmarked' killer after 35-year hunt

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The DNA of a former gendarme who later joined France's national police force has matched that found in evidence from a series of murders and rapes dating back to 1986, it has been confirmed, shortly after he was found dead on Wednesday alongside a suicide note containing a confession.

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For decades the crimes of a notorious serial killer have haunted the Paris crime squad, reports BBC News.

But now a former military police officer is said to have confessed to being the murderer known as Le Grêlé - the pockmarked man - before his death.

Named locally as François Vérove, his DNA has been matched to several crime scenes linked to Le Grêlé.

His murders and rapes shocked Paris between 1986 and 1994 but until now were never solved.

Among the shocking crimes attributed to him was the murder of 11-year-old Cécile Bloch. She was reported missing after failing to show up to school in Paris in 1986.

"We won't ever know all the crimes Le Grêlé committed," said Didier Seban, a lawyer representing the families.

Vérove is linked to four murders and six rapes but Mr Seban said there were undoubtedly more, and his death had left many families without answers.

A picture of Le Grêlé has hung for decades on the walls of the criminal brigade of the Paris judicial police.

This cold case was finally cracked when an investigating magistrate recently decided to send letters to 750 gendarmes (military police) stationed in the Paris region at the time.

The 59-year-old man found dead had been a gendarme before becoming a police officer and later retiring, He was summoned by police on September 24th to give a DNA sample five days later. His wife reported him missing on September 27th.

His body was discovered in a rented flat in Grau-du-Roi on the Mediterranean coast, along with a suicide note. Prosecutors says his DNA matched evidence found at several crime scenes.

Read more of this report from BBC News.

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