On April 21, 2011, members of the Dupont de Ligonnès family were found half-buried underneath the patio of their own home. An autopsy performed the very next day revealed that each of them were drugged and shot twice in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. The father, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, completely vanished from public view a week prior, and was almost immediately named as the primary suspect and main witness for the murders.
And because Xavier is still at large, his family’s murder remains open and contributes to the growing number of unsolved murders and killers who were never caught. Just where is Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès? Is he an unrepentant killer? Does he rank among those who murdered their families?
When neighbors and friends of the de Ligonnès family realized they were missing, they contacted police. On April 19, 2011, authorities opened an investigation and quickly discovered that Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, the husband and father of the family, made very suspicious purchases in the weeks prior, which included cement, burlap sacks, quicklime, and shovels.
On April 21, they uncovered the family's bodies under the patio in the backyard. They were covered in quicklime—which speeds decomposition and masks smell—wrapped in burlap sacks, and buried under cement. They identified the bodies of the de Ligonnès family, which included Agnès, 49, Arthur, 21, Thomas, 18, Anne, 16, Benoit, 13, and the two family Labradors. Autopsies revealed that they were drugged and shot with a .22 long rifle while they slept. Xavier had completely disappeared.
On Sunday, April 3rd, the family and all the children except Thomas were spotted at dinner and a movie theater in Nantes. The next day, April 4th, Anne and Benoît did not show up for school "due to illness." Xavier was spotted eating dinner with his son Thomas on the same day. A waiter remembers that Thomas felt sick toward the end of the meal and recalls that the pair didn't speak much to one another. Investigators believe that Xavier murdered his wife, Arthur, Anne, and Benoît on the evening of April 3rd or 4th and Thomas on April 5th. During the week, neighbors reported hearing the family's dogs howling for two consecutive nights, and then they never heard them again.
In July of 2015, Xavier sent a family photo featuring his two sons sitting at a table to Agence France-Presse with a message on the back, which reads "I am still alive. From then until this hour." AFP immediately gave the picture to authorities, who conducted DNA and handwriting analysis.
There is no consensus on when Agnès, the wife and mother of the Ligonnès family, actually died. The police officially declared that her death happened on April 3rd or 4th, however a neighbor of the de Ligonnès family says he saw Agnès walking their dogs on the 5th and 7th of April. The neighbor remembers not having much time to speak with her, because she picked up her son from the nanny every Thursday evening. Additionally, a salon employee claims to have seen Agnès on the 5th sitting on the sidewalk, looking at her phone. A saleswoman also believes she saw Agnès on the 7th in her shop.