THE HAILSTONES. An old French criminal case found its epilogue on Thursday, September 30, 2021. “The Hailstone”, a serial killer wanted for 35 years involved in four murders and six rapes committed suicide. He was identified and left a confession letter on the spot.

Summary Letter of the “Hailstone” “The Hailstone”, serial killer Murder of Cécile Bloch Murder of Gilles Politi and Irmard Mueller Murder of Karine Leroy

[updated on October 1, 2021 at 20:50] It’s him. After 35 years of investigation, François V., nicknamed “le Hailé” by the press and investigators, has finally been identified. Thus, the robot portrait of this serial killer suspected in several cases of murder and rape that took place in the 80s and 90s, broadcast and plastered all over the place from the mid-2000s, can now take the features of François V., a former gendarme turned policeman and then municipal councilor of a commune in the south of France. Wednesday, September 29, 2021, he was found dead in Grau-du-Roi (Gard) and could be confused by DNA analysis. A confession letter was also found at the scene. 

The case will have been complicated to unravel. In 2014, Nathalie Turquey, vice-president in charge of investigation at the Paris court, had revived the thorny file, becoming the umpteenth magistrate to deal with it. His investigation was then directed towards the trail of a man who allegedly practiced the profession of constable. A list of 750 people who could fit the profile of the killer, of which François V. was one, had then been drawn up so that they could be interviewed as they went along. But the serial killer could never be heard. He committed suicide a few days before the date of his summons to the judicial police of Montpellier. It was intended to allow him to discuss his personal situation at the time the crimes were committed. 

The 59-year-old “Hailstone” left a letter acknowledging his wrongdoing. The man is suspected of six rapes and four murders between 1983 and 1994. He is suspected in particular of having killed and raped little Cécile, 11, found dead in the basement of his building in the nineteenth arrondissement of Paris in May 1986, as well as the murder of a couple found strangled in the Marais district of Paris in 1987. He is also suspected of a fourth murder, that of Karine Leroy, 19, who disappeared in June 1994 in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne) (read below). “It sounds amazing. It’s been so long that investigators, justice and families have been looking. We fall a little out of the closet when we learn that we have found the author,” commented Me Didier Seban, lawyer for the families of the first and fourth victim, on Franceinfo.

In mid-September, Michel Faury, divisional commissioner at the head of the Paris Criminal Brigade, told Actu Paris: “He is a real killer and serial rapist, who has completely disappeared, and we want to identify him even if he may have died today. This file, our oldest, is still alive. Investigations are still ongoing.”This is one of the “cold cases” from which France no longer expected the outcome. But it is certainly not what the families of the victims imagined.

What is in the letter left by the “Hail”?

Before killing himself, the “Hailstone” wrote a letter in which he accused himself of several murders. “I admit to being a great criminal who committed unforgivable facts until the end of the 1990s,” reports Le Parisien. However, Francis V. gives no details about his victims: no name is on the paper, no date, no explanation. If not “impulses” felt at the time, related to his childhood believes to know Midi Libre. According to Le Parisien, the man wrote that he was “not well in [his] life” at the time of the murders. His meeting with his wife would have made him change and, according to his writings, he would have “done nothing since 1997” adds BFM TV.

Who is “the Hailstone”, a serial killer wanted for 35 years?

With the case of Little Gregory, it is another great criminal mystery nearly four decades old. In the 1980s and 1990s, a man of unknown identity was implicated in four murder cases: that of Cécile Bloch, dated 5 May 1986, an 11-year-old girl raped and stabbed; those of Gilles Politi, 38, and Irmgard Mueller, 20, perpetrated on 29 April 1987 (all three in Paris); that of Karine Leroy, aged 19, committed on 9 June 1994 in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne Marne). 

The defendant, whose police only have a DNA trace (which could never be confused) and a portrait-robot, then estimated that he was a man between 25 and 30 years old, at the time, 1.85m tall with brown hair and a face strewn with acne, which earned him this nickname in the press. To lure his victims, he allegedly displayed a police card and equipment (weapon, walkie-talkie, handcuffs) before choking and tying them up.

After the announcement of the death of the “Hailstone, the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris explained that he was a former gendarme, passed by the Republican Guard, who became a policeman in 1988 and who had been retired for some time. Located in La Grande-Motte (Hérault), F