Where is the man who disappeared after the bodies of his wife and four children were found buried under their backyard porch?
Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes hails from an aristocratic French family with an impressive lineage. Xavier and his wife, Anges Hodanger, have four children: Arthur, Thomas, Anne, and Benoit. They live in an upscale townhouse in the center of Nantes, where their children attend private schools and the family goes to church together. On the surface, they seem happy. Yet despite his privileged upbringing, Xavier has had little success in his own professional life. Few people are aware that he is struggling financially. Xavier manages to maintain an appearance of wealth by borrowing money from family and friends, to make ends meet–until his ruse starts to unravel.
Journalist Anne-Sophie Martin retraces Xavier’s last movements in 2011, suggesting that he meticulously planned the murders of his family. After inheriting a .22 rifle from his father, Xavier purchases bullets and a silencer. He practices at a gun range multiple times between March 26th and April 1st. He also buys large bin liners, adhesive plastic paving slabs, cement, a shovel, and a hoe, plus four bags of lime, all at different hardware shops around Nantes.
On Sunday, April 3rd the couple and three of their children go to dinner and the movies. At 10:37pm, Xavier leaves an eerie message on his sister, Christine’s, voicemail that says he is “going to put the kids to sleep.” The next day, Arthur, Anne, and Benoit are absent from school and Agnes doesn’t show up for work. Xavier calls to say everyone is ill and will be staying home for a few days. The next day, Xavier calls Thomas at his boarding school to say his mother has been in an accident and he should return home immediately. Xavier picks up Thomas at the train station, and Thomas is never seen again.
Days later, Xavier the immediate family and close friends receive a letter from Xavier saying that he has been working covertly for the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the entire family has relocated to the United States, as part of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He says they will be out of contact for a few years. Xavier has closed all bank accounts, terminated the lease on their house, and sent final payments to all the children’s schools. He leaves instructions about how to dispose of the few remaining household items and cars.
After a few days, neighbors grow suspicious of the shuttered house and call the police, requesting a welfare check. After several futile visits, one police officer notices wet cement under the back porch. When they dig, they uncover the corpses of the five family members and their two dogs, buried under a fresh slab of cement. They have all been shot with a .22 rifle. Xavier is nowhere to be found so an international warrant is issued for his arrest.
Reports start to come in about Xavier’s whereabouts. Authorities learn that on April 12th he stayed at a 5-star resort in Toulouse. On April 14th he was caught on CCTV withdrawing money from an ATM, and on April 15th he was last seen by a hotel security camera, walking toward the mountains. Despite several alleged sightings over the past few years, Xavier has not been seen or heard from ever again. Did he commit suicide in the mountains? Authorities searched the area for weeks and found no sign of Xavier. Or is he a fugitive on the run? Many believe this is the most likely theory.