Detention period extended for French family murder suspect in 2012

A French prosecutor has extended the detention of a suspect in the 2012 killing of a Anglo-Iraqi family and a cyclist in the French Alps

PARIS — A French prosecutor has extended the detention of a suspect in custody from Wednesday morning following the 2012 killing of a British-Iraqi family and a cyclist in the French Alps.

Saad al-Hilli, his wife Ikbal and his mother-in-law Souhaila al-Allaf were shot dead on a remote mountain road near Annecy in eastern France. French cyclist Sylvain Mollier was also killed in the shooting. Al-Hilli’s two young daughters were in the car when the shooting occurred and survived.

She did not provide further details about the case as the investigation is still ongoing.

French media reported that investigators knew the detained male suspect and had been questioned about his killing in 2015 after British police released a sketch of a motorcyclist seen near the crime scene. Annecy prosecutors found no evidence at the time that the motorcyclist was involved.

French investigators have questioned others in connection with the killing, but no charges have been laid in the case after nine years of investigation.

The al-Hilli children, aged 4 and 7 at the time, were the only witnesses to the horrific killing that baffled French investigators. The case has international ramifications, with families killed with links to Britain, Iraq, Sweden and Spain.

The four victims and two young survivors were found by police in a wooded area on a remote mountain road in the village of Chevaline, near the idyllic Lake Annecy in eastern France.

Annecy’s prosecutor Eric Maillaud in 2012 said the 4-year-old girl who survived the shooting could not help the investigation because she hid under her mother’s lap during the killing. She was found in her car eight hours after the shooting.

Her 7-year-old sister, who was shot in the shoulder and survived, was found bleeding and beaten outside the car, a BMW station wagon, where three bodies were found.

Prosecutors said 25 bullets were found in the family vehicle. All victims were found with at least three bullet wounds, each with a shot to the head.