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On the 5th of September 2012, ex-RAF pilot Brett Martin was out cycling on a hilly forest road near the town of Chevaline at the southern end of Lake Annecy in France.
Brett was a British citizen who owned a holiday home in the area and he loved exploring the hills on his bicycle. It was approximately a quarter to three in the afternoon when he crossed a bridge. The sound of the rushing mountain stream was soothing on the unseasonably warm afternoon. As he came to a clearing, he saw an alarming scene. The bicycle of a cyclist who had passed him a couple of minutes before was on the road – without its rider.
As Brett approached the wayside he saw a BMW Estate with British license plates, reversed into an embankment. The engine was still running and the back wheels were spinning in mud. The cyclist was lying in front of the car, motionless. There was blood, but strangely, he had no grazes or dirt on his body, as one would expect to see after someone had fallen off a bicycle.
Then Brett saw a young girl – she could not have been more than 10 years old, stumbling around in front of the car, blood seeping from a wound in her head. She gave a couple of steps, then collapsed. As he rushed to her aid, he saw a scene he would never forget. In the car were three more people, all adults, covered in blood and lifeless. It was evident from their wounds that all of them had been shot.
The whole scene was a bloodbath.
Brett Martin was an experienced pilot, and knew how to keep his cool in crisis situations. He broke the window on the driver’s side of the car and turned the ignition off, fearing that the car would start moving forward and run over the body of the cyclist. Then he rushed to the young girl’s side to administer first aid. He placed her in the recovery position, but realised she needed urgent medical attention. There was no signal on his cell phone, so he left the scene to go and get help, leaving the eerily quiet scene behind him as he cycled down the hill.
What happened on the roadside on this warm autumn afternoon on this peaceful mountain trail just outside of Chevaline?
As Brett Martin rushed down the mountainside, he came across a hiker and told him about the murder scene. They managed to find a spot from where there was enough signal to make an emergency call. After they had raised the alarm, both men returned to the scene and waited there for police to arrive.
The hiker was shocked at the brutality of the scene. His first assumption was that the family was attacked and that the cyclist tried to come to their rescue before he was gunned down too. But with five victims, it was difficult to understand exactly what had happened.
Police arrived at the scene and cordoned off the surrounding area. It was a remote spot with narrow, winding roads leading there. By the time road blocks were in place, two hours had passed, which meant the perpetrator or perpetrators were probably long gone.
The young girl’s injuries were severe and police called for a helicopter to airlift her to a hospital in Grenoble. It appeared that she had been shot and then beaten with the firearm – pistol whipped. Fortunately, after intensive efforts by hospital staff, Zeinab Al-Hilli’s condition stabilised and they knew she would survive.
News about the shootings spread through the local community like wildfire. A local campsite manager heard about the incident and informed police that there was a British family who was staying at the site, but they had not returned home after their day of sightseeing. The details of the vehicle confirmed that the deceased group was the Al-Hilli family from Surrey.
The deceased were 50-year-old Saad Al-Hilli, his 47-year old wife, Iqbal and Iqbal’s mother Suhaila al-Allaf who was 74.
The campsite owner made a shocking revelation to police. He said that the family had TWO daughters: 7-year-old Zeinab and 4-year-old Zeena. At that point, they had only found Zeinab. Night was falling and police and local searchers scrambled into action to find the missing girl. They did not have to look too far, however. It turned out that Zeena Al-Hilli was inside the family’s BMW all the time. She was hiding under her dead mother’s legs behind the passenger seat. Forensic investigators found her eight traumatising hours after the shooting.
Zeena was obviously in a state of shock and she was taken to the hospital in Grenoble where Zeinab was slowly regaining consciousness. An armed guard was set up to protect the girls, as they were the only known witnesses to the horrendous crime. The sisters returned to the UK 10 days after the attack, in the care of social services.
Both sisters were badly traumatised and could not give police too much information. All Zeinab could remember was that there was “one bad man”. Police were stunned that a single gunman was responsible for committing four murders and seriously injuring a child in a matter of minutes. Whoever was behind the killings, knew what he was doing. He had probably done it before, and police had to find him before he did it again.
Forensic evidence showed that Brett Martin arrived at the scene only minutes after the attack. Although he did not hear any gunshots, it is possible that the sound was drowned out by the sound of the river. They conducted tests to confirm this and concluded that Brett would definitely not have heard the shots. They interrogated Brett for any information. He recalled a motorcycle making its way down the mountain, minutes before he came across the scene. He remembered it, as the bike was going at a slow speed and he found it to be strange. He was able to provide a description of the man and police released a composite drawing to the media, appealing to the public for any information regarding the motorcyclist. But nobody could provide any information as to the identity of the man.
French police realised that the answer to the murders could lie in the family’s background. British and French law enforcement teams joined forces under Eurojust, something that was rarely done. Eurojust was created in 2003 to increase co-operation between international agencies in investigating serious crimes. The Annecy shootings was only the second case ever to be investigated under Eurojust.
French investigators went to the UK and together with local law enforcement searched the Al-Hilli home to look for any kind of evidence, believing that the murder was a hit and that the motive would be clarified by evidence originating from the Al-Hilli’s life in England.
Saad al Hilli was an Iraqi-born British citizen. His father, Kadhim al-Hilli, was a successful businessman in Iraq who owned a large-scale poultry farm. The family was driven out of Iraq by Saddam Hussein’s men. They relocated to the UK when Saad and his brother Zaid were still children. They grew up and received their schooling in England, very much accepting the adoptive country as their own.
Saad was married to Iqbal al-Saffar, who was three years younger than him. They met in Dubai in 2003 and realised that they were a good match. Iqbal, like Saad, was born in Iraq, but her family left for greener pastures. She had lived in Sweden and the United States before marrying Saad and moving to the UK.
They lived in the upmarket area of Claygate in Surrey. They lived in the family home passed down to them by Saad’s father. His brother, Zaid, also lived in the home after his wife passed away in 2009. Saad and Iqbal were in love with their two daughters and they lived a quiet life. The girls loved the family caravan and called it ‘Spotty’.
Saad was a qualified and experienced mechanical engineer who had worked for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, as well as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Iqbal was a dentist who loved her job.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Saad al-Hilli returned to Baghdad for the first time since he was a child. He went to reclaim his family’s home. It was a home that had been in his family for many years, in fact, he was born in the house. It was a house in the wealthy Adhamiyah district Baghdad, where all of the city’s elite lived. The estimated worth of the property was about $500,000 at the time. Squatters occupied the home and Saad took it upon himself to set things right. However, when he told them he was there to take back his rightful home, he was met with a physical altercation, which he lost.
He never spoke about that trip to Iraq much, and in subsequent years he only mentioned that it had been sorted out. He told a cousin that he had used some of his connections to get the house back. Nobody in Saad’s inner circle knew what that meant exactly, but as it did not seem to concern Saad any longer, nobody pushed him for details.
Investigators were sceptical that the house-issue in Baghdad was a strong enough motive to kill the whole family while they were on holiday in France. They decided to divert their investigation to the Al-Hilli’s life in England.
They uncovered information that indicated the relationship between Saad and his older brother Zaid was a strained one. Their mother passed away in the early 2000s, after which their father decided to move to Spain to live out his retirement. Kadhim al-Hilli bought an apartment in the village of Mijas. Years after the purchase, Saad learnt that the names on the deeds of the property were those of his father Kadhim and his brother Zaid. Saad was excluded.
When Kadhim passed away in 2011, the brothers fell out over the estate, which included the house in Claygate, the flat in Spain and almost 1M Euro in a Swiss bank account.
Saad and his family lived in the one part of the Claygate home, while Zaid lived alone in his own part of the house. Saad understood that he would probably have to sell the house and split the money with his brother one day. Then Saad saw his father’s will did not mention him at all. Saad recalled Kadhim’s last visit to the UK. His father told him that he was concerned about signing a blank document given to him by Zaid. Zaid had often helped their elderly father with his financial affairs, as he worked in finance. But Kadhim did not exactly trust his son towards the end.
According to typed online conversations between Saad and a friend, he believed that his brother created a false will for his father. Saad had also discovered that Zaid attempted to withdraw £2M from Kadhim’s Swiss bank account. So Saad took steps to contest the will and froze any sale of the house until the brother’s differences were resolved. In the time leading up to the killings in France, Saad and Zaid were not on speaking terms anymore. Zaid had moved out of the Claygate home and the brothers communicated through their attorneys.
To people who knew the Al-Hilli family, the brother’s feud over the will was not strong enough to have caused such a violent murder. The brothers disagreed, sure, but they did not hate each other. Many estates end up in sibling fights, but was that worth killing for?
Zaid claimed that he had no involvement in the family’s murders and professed his innocence, offering to take a lie detector test. On the 24th of June 2013, nine months after the killings, police arrested Zaid al-Hilli on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. However, he was released some time later, due to a lack of evidence.
Investigators decided to keep Zaid on their radar. If he was behind the murders, they needed proof. They sifted through paperwork and relevant evidence from the Al-Hilli Claygate home. Police were surprised to find a Taser gun among Saad’s belongings, as is it illegal in UK. Friends of the family said that they did not know about the weapon, but when asked why Saad would have owned it, most of his friends agreed that he must have purchased it for protection while on his trip to Iraq.
Police also found something that was ‘potentially hazardous’ in the garden shed. There was big drama as neighbours were evacuated and news crews were moved back behind white tape. The bomb squad moved in, but after a couple of hours they announced that it was a false alarm and the substance wasn’t dangerous after all. What they found, however, has never been made public.
Saad’s computer hard drive was scrutinised. A series of typed Skype conversations showed that Saad had strong political views. Some even felt it was somewhat extreme. He was quite vocal about his support of Iran and Hezbollah and in his conversations were many anti-Israeli sentiments.
At beginning 2012, Saad said to relatives that he did not want to remain in the UK and was hoping to go to Iraq to live. He was ready to take up arms to help in the fight against Israel.
This was unsettling because of his line of work. Weeks before his death he finished a project, working on surveillance satellites. Was it possible that he provided information to the Hezbollah in Iran as a corporate spy? This led to a theory that Israel and the Mossad could possibly have been behind the killings. But the theory does not hold a lot of water. With no evidence that Saad was in fact trading in secret intelligence, there would be no reason for the Mossad to eliminate him.
In understanding what Saad’s actual job was, this does not seem plausible. He was a mechanical engineer who would NOT have been privy to any sensitive information. His security clearance was very low-level, as his role was essentially to design and maintain the mechanical workings of a satellites. He did not code the paths or know anything more than that. His friends and family said his work was that of a contractor, he went in to solve minor problems, something he was very effective with.
However, information beyond his work description was discovered on his home computer. Was this simply professional curiosity or was there something more to it?
Investigators tried to unfold the information they already had. Saad was a seemingly happily married man who enjoyed his job as an engineer in satellite technology. He did not see eye to eye with his brother and was outspoken regarding political issues in the Middle-East. In the months leading up to his death, he had indicated that he would like to relocate to Iraq one day.
In the days before the family’s departure, there was nothing in Saad’s actions that raised any concerns with his co-workers, his friends or his accountant.
They arrived at the Le Solitaire du Lac campsite in Saint Jorioz near the southern end of Lake Annecy on the 3rd of September. They had booked their camping site until the 7th of September. They were familiar with the area and loved spending holidays there.
When French police took the Al-Hilli’s beloved caravan in for testing, they found Saad’s laptop and multiple USB drives, containing information of his entire life. This was a strange find – the packing list for a caravanning holiday usually only contains the essentials. Why would Saad bring all this information along? People close to Saad reckon it was not unusual for Saad at all. He loved his job and would often work – even when he was on holiday.
Swiss prosecutors confirmed that Saad had visited a bank in Geneva, shortly before his death. He left his family at the campsite and drove by himself, just over an hour, to Geneva where he visited a bank. The account he accessed on that day, was opened in 1984 by Saad’s father, Kadhim Al-Hilli. At the time of Saad’s death there was just under 1M Euros in the account. Saad did not withdraw any of the funds on that day.
German newspaper Bild, as well as French newspaper Le Monde, claimed to have information regarding Saad’s visit to Geneva. Articles appeared a couple of months after the shootings, stating that secret services have linked the Al-Hilli family to Saddam Hussein. Saad was directly accused of laundering the Iraqi dictator’s money, even though Saddam had been dead for six years at the time.
However, Saad’s accountant in the UK said that there was no evidence of large amounts of money flowing in and out of Saad’s accounts. Besides, the Al-Hilli’s were not big spenders: they were not known to buy expensive clothing or go on lavish holidays. Their lifestyle was quiet and simple and the ultimate thrill was spending some time, vacationing in their caravan.
Why Saad visited a Swiss bank and what he did there in the days leading up to his murder, remains unclear.
On the morning of the 5th of September, the Al-Hilli’s asked the campsite manager a scenic route, as they felt like going for a drive. He suggested they went to the town of Chevaline and then for a walk on a forest path on their way back. The family took his suggestion and left the campsite mid-morning.
Two construction workers saw the BMW drive past on Combe d’Ire but did not see anyone following them. They pulled off the road at a beautiful spot on the top of the hill, which was the only place where they were able to turn back around. What happened from this point on is only theory, based on crime scene evidence as well as limited information supplied by Zeinab al-Hilli.
On the afternoon of the shootings, the Al-Hilli family pulled off the road to admire the scenery. Saad and Zeinab got out of the car to have a closer look at the stream and take some photos.
At this time, Sylvain Mollier arrived. It is possible that Sylvain was pushing his bike at this point, as it was the top of a very steep hill. Claire had called his cell phone minutes before and he was out of breath. He said that he would call her once he’d reached the top. Seeing Saad and Zeinab, they most probably exchanged pleasantries before the attack. Blood splatter on Saad’s shoes showed that Sylvain was shot first and that he was in close proximity to Saad.
Evidence further suggests that father and daughter then ran back to the car, trying to get away from the gunman. Saad was shot in the back of the head. Zeinab in the shoulder and head. Despite being shot, Saad managed to make it back to the car and tried to escape. But in the panic, he unfortunately shifted his BMW into the wrong gear and reversed into the embankment.
The killer walked up to the car and shot Saad through the window, once more in the head, killing him. Then he turned on Iqbal and her mom who were seated in the back. Both were shot twice in the head. Suhaila also had a third shot to her torso.
There was a theory that the gunman held Zeinab in an attempt to threaten Saad. She was shot in the shoulder and in the head and never made it back to the car. Realising that he had run out of bullets, the assailant then pistol whipped her on the head, leaving her for dead.
The attack has also been compared to the Dominici Affair in 1952. British biochemist Jack Drummond, his wife Anne and their 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth were shot and killed outside their car at the family farm in the south of France. Family patriarch Gaston Domenici was found guilty of the murders and hanged, but people questioned his guilt for years to come.
At the al-Hilli-Mollier crime scene in Chevaline, were 22 bullet shell casings. There were also fragments of the firearm, which must have splintered off when the assailant hit Zainab over the head. The ballistic evidence was astounding… The firearm used in the attack was a pre-World War II Luger P06, semi-automatic pistol. It was an obsolete weapon of almost 100 years old. In 2012, this type of pistol was purely a collector’s item. It was the standard issue firearm in the Swiss army for many years.
A Luger P06 held seven bullets in the cartridge and one in the barrel. At the crime scene in the mountains near Chevaline, 21 shots were fired of which 17 hit targets. That means, the gunman would have had to reload the pistol twice. For the short amount of time in which the shootings occurred, this person had to be a confident, good shooter. However, the amount of shots insinuate he was not a professional hitman, perhaps rather a soldier or mercenary. The one thing technicians agreed on, is that there was only one shooter at the scene. ‘One bad man’, as Zeinab had said from the start.
In October 2012, police files were leaked to the press. Information about the murder weapon, the Luger P06 semi-automatic pistol. French authorities felt it was a foreign hitman who sourced the murder weapon locally.
Questions were raised about the vast amount of shots fired at the scene. The media speculated that is could not have been a professional hitman. Also: how would a hitman know the al-Hilli’s would stop at that exact spot at that exact time? They didn’t know they were going there until the morning of the killing. And even then, they did not make concrete plans, they drove around and stopped when they saw a scenic spot. Photos from the family camera showed the last pictures taken outside a typical alpine home near the village of Doussard, about half a mile from the crime scene. In the photo, probably taken by Saad, Suhaila, Iqbal and the girls seemed happy and relaxed, completely unaware of the horror that awaited them. Many people felt that the assailant was a ‘lone psychopath’ and that the Al-Hilli family as well as Sylvain Mollier were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
BBC documentary, Panorama, uncovered information of interest in October 2013. A local forester (who wanted to remain anonymous) claimed that he saw a man and a black and white motorbike at the spot where the murders were committed, just moments before the killings. The man was wearing full motorcycling gear and the visor on his helmet was down.
Other witnesses spotted a grey BMW X5, right hand drive, near the scene on the afternoon of the killings. The forester confirmed this, saying that he saw the BMW driving in the direction of the crime scene.
Sightings of a speeding white car on the mountain roads were also reported. One witness said at first it looked like the two people in the car were both women, but as the car overtook him, it looked more like they were men with wigs. They were driving erratically, like something was chasing them. A similar story from witness in Chevaline was reported. He said that said around 4:15pm, less than half an hour after the shootings, a white car drove recklessly through Chevaline, but the only person in the car was a dark-skinned male.
Police could not ignore the fact that the French cyclist had more bullet wounds than any of the other victims. Of the 21 shots fired, 5 were used on Sylvain Mollier. Although investigators initially felt that he was an innocent passer-by who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, they had to admit that his death was a case of excessive ‘overkill’. To fire so many shots, simply because he had witnessed something seemed out of place. Could it have been more personal?
An investigation was launched to determine if 45-year-old Sylvain Mollier was perhaps the intended target. Sylvain was a local father of three who worked in a metal factory which produced components for the nuclear industry. A theory emerged that there was a link between Saad al-Hilli and Sylvain Mollier because they worked in the same industry. There was speculation that Saad and Sylvain had made their way up there to meet with someone. Perhaps a secret agent. Or perhaps they were trading confidential information.
Sylvain was employed by nuclear energy company, Areva. In the past, it was alleged that the company supplied Iran with enriched uranium, an accusation that Areva strongly denied. If there was any truth in the story, that could have been a link between Sylvain, who worked for Areva and Saad, who supported anti-Israeli efforts in Iran.
However, people who worked with both Saad and Sylvain said that there was no way either of them could have been involved in illegal activity. Sylvain’s cousin spoke out in the media and said:
“Sylvain didn’t even have a degree. He was a welder, not a nuclear scientist. He wasn’t a mystery man; he had not ever really travelled far from home.”
Besides, Saad al-Hilli was very protective of his family. If he was involved in some or other secretive deal, he would never have taken his wife, daughters and mother-in-law into a forest in a foreign country to meet a connection.
Police also had to consider that Sylvain was the possible target – for personal reasons – and that the al-Hilli family was perhaps killed because they were the witnesses. Investigators looked into his background.
Sylvain Mollier grew up in the area and lived and worked in the village of Ugine, southwest from Lake Annecy. He was married to a local hairdresser and they had two children together, but the couple had split up.
At the time of his death, Sylvain had just taken paternity leave, to take care of his third child. The mother of his child was pharmacist, Claire Schutz, who came from a wealthy local family. Whispers went around town that Sylvain was ‘punching above his weight’ so to speak and that he was lucky to have stepped up in social standing, thanks to his relationship with Claire.
It was no secret that Claire was about to take over her family fortune, that was made through ownership of various local pharmacies. It was public knowledge that the couple was about to come into some big money.
On the day of the shootings, Claire’s father, Thierry Schutz had suggested a cycling route to Sylvain, but he did not follow it. He either missed a turn or decided to go another way. A decision that would end up costing his life. Also, he was riding up the mountain road with an expensive racing bike, not quite suitable for conditions of that particular stretch of road. As a local AND an experienced cyclist, he would have known exactly where he was going and that he did not have the best bike for the ride.
The Schutz family denied the story that Thierry suggested the cycling route. They also refuted the stories that Thierry felt Sylvain was not good enough for his daughter. Both Mollier and Schutz families have kept a very low profile in the media and the first photo of Sylvain was only made public months after his death.
Because of his connection to the Schutz family and their standing in the community, there are people who feel that this line of inquiry was not followed up completely. And the decision to drop it, was more of a political decision than anything else. In small towns, people with money and power can sometimes be untouchable – was the insinuation.
Saad’s brother, Zaid al-Hilli strongly believes that this is the case. He was quoted saying:
“They are covering up for someone in France in that region and they know it. There is something more to it locally.”
In June 2014, a person who was quite high on the list of suspects in the case ended his own life. Former French Foreign Legionnaire, Patrice Menegaldo had an affair with Sylvain Mollier’s sister and he also knew Sylvain’s ex-wife rather well. Could he have been contracted to murder Sylvain in an act of revenge? And when the Al-Hilli family showed up – did he eliminate them because they saw what he had done?
Police interviewed Menegaldo in April 2014 and it was clear to him that police thought he could have been behind the murders. He left a seven-page suicide note expressing his stress about being implicated in the murders. To some, this seemed like a veiled confession.
There was neither enough evidence to incriminate Menegaldo without a doubt, nor was there enough evidence to exonerate him.
But, of course, Saad al-Hilli and Sylvain Mollier weren’t the only two victims on that fateful day. What if the intended target was Iqbal? Or perhaps her mother Suhala?
A story that shocked everyone who knew the al-Hilli’s emerged. Iqbal was married once before to former cop James Thompson. They lived together in New Orleans for two years, before tying the knot. The story was that Iqbal only married James in order to secure a green card, as she wanted to work as a dentist. They supposedly never consummated the marriage and it was understood to be a favour between friends.
Apparently Iqbal never told anybody about the marriage, including Saad. Some sources speculate that Iqbal and James never ended their marriage, which would have complicated things for her with Saad. Years after the fact, James’ sister came forward and said that her brother and Iqbal were in frequent communication with each other, up until the end.
In a strange twist of fate, James passed away on the same day as Iqbal, albeit on the other side of the world in Mississippi. He died after the shootings in Chevaline, under mysterious circumstances. On the afternoon of September 5th, James left work saying that he didn’t feel well. He took two aspirin, left work in his vehicle, then had a heart attack while he was driving. The car veered off the road and crashed into a barrier. He was found slumped over the wheel.
Tragic as it is, there is nothing to suggest that there is a link between the murders.
Iqbal’s mother Suhaila al-Allaf lived in Sweden with her mentally disturbed son who had threatened her twice in the months leading up to the murders. Investigators travelled to Sweden to interview 46-year-old Haydar Thaher, but he was not there… Eventually they tracked him down in a psychiatric hospital in England. He was in the care facility while the family was in France and there is no way that he could have orchestrated the murders.
In February 2014, a 48-year-old local, Eric Devouassoux was arrested. He was an ex-police officer who was an avid gun collector. At the time of his arrest, he was being investigated for illegal arms trafficking. However, there was nothing that linked Devouassoux to the Chevaline affair and he was released after a couple of days.
There was a momentary flicker of hope in February 2015, when the search for the motorcyclist described by Brett Martin came to an end. After an in-depth look into the man as a possible suspect, it was ruled that he was simply an innocent passer-by. He was also not the killer.
A year later, former police officer, a 53-year-old Belgian named Michael Hecht came under suspicion. Police looked into Hecht’s background, as he was involved in other, similar crimes, including three attempted murders in 2008. He was also suspected of killing a pair of cyclists in 1986. But, again, there was not enough evidence to link him to the Alps Murders.
Investigators never gave up, they pursued every tip and every possible avenue, but nothing quite seem to explain what happened on Route de la Combe d’Ire on September 5th 2012.
One of the most recent theories, point to serial killer Nordahl Lelandais. He is an ex-soldier connected to two other murders in the same general area as the Alps Murders. In April 2017 he killed 24-year-old soldier, Arthur Noyer, who was hitchhiking home after going to a disco in Chambéry. He also admitted to killing 8-year-old Maëlys de Araujo in August 2017. He took her from a wedding reception where he was an uninvited guest, then caused her death ‘involuntarily’ – he would not elaborate any further.
Lelandais is suspected of 15 more murders. He chose his victims at random and his killings were opportunistic. Although it could possibly fit the murders in Chevaline, it is problematic. Firstly, there does not seem to be any proof that Lelandais was in the Annecy area in September of 2012. Also, even though he does not go into detail, he has confessed to the two murders he was arrested for. If he is the killer behind one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in France, would he not jump to the opportunity to confess? Only time will tell, as he is currently serving time for the murders of Arthur Noyer and Maëlys de Araujo.
After spending some time in the social services system of the UK, Zeinab and Zeena al-Hilli were entrusted to relatives of Iqbal. Because of her injuries, Zeinab suffered damage to her eyesight, but was otherwise unscathed. The girls were not allowed to see their uncle Zaid, as he was a person of interest in the murder investigation. British authorities are adamant to protect the girls and no one is allowed to interview them about the events in Chevaline until they are ready to speak, which could be never.
This case remains unsolved. There are an abundance of theories and speculation is rife. But with so many elements at play, one has to wonder if this mystery will ever be solved…
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