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Michel Fourniret (born April 4, 1942 in Sedan, France) is a French criminal. He was convicted of voyeurism and other crimes in 1986. He was convicted to serve 7 years in prison. He was released on bail shortly after the process, because he had already served most of this time in custody. Shortly thereafter, he committed his first murder. He murdered the 17 year old Isabelle Laville. He then moved to Belgium and led a normal life. He was responsible for a canteen at a school in Gedine.
On July 26, 2003, he tried to abduct a 13 year old girl named Marie-Ascension. The girl escaped by leaping out of his car. Fourniret was arrested in Belgium in the same year. Belgian police had grown suspicious earlier though; in April 2001, a woman said she had been chased and harassed in southern Belgium. She gave a description that matched Fourniret, and also cited the license plate of his car. Only 3 weeks later, a thirteen-year old girl named Mananya Thumpong vanished in Sedan. Since then, Fourniret has confessed he killed her.
On July 1, 2004, Fourniret's wife, Monique Olivier, confessed. According to her account, Michel Fourniret had killed ten people. She said she had helped him with the abductions. The day after her confession, Michel said he had indeed killed eight people. Later he confessed to killing his ninth victim. Today, people believe he might have killed many more. He is currently detained in Belgium. His trial began on March 27, 2008. He is sometimes referred to as the "Ogre of the Ardennes".
His wife Monique denounced him following the conviction of Michelle Martin, wife of convicted child murderer Marc Dutroux, for helping him with the crimes. Fourniret has been charged with the abduction of minors and sexual misconduct, and has been in detention since June 2003 for the attempted kidnapping of a 14-year-old girl in 2000. Monique has been charged with one murder and for helping him with six others.
- Isabelle Laville - a 17-year-old French girl. She disappeared in Auxerre, on December 11, 1987 on her way home from school. Her skeletal remains were located at the bottom of a well in the country north of Auxerre in July of 2006.
- Fabienne Leroy - a 20-year-old woman. She disappeared in 1988 in Mourmelon, and her body was later found in the nearby woods.
- Jeanne-Marie Desramault - a 22-year-old French student. She disappeared in 1989 from the railway station of Charleville-Méziere, and her body was recovered from the estate of Fourniret with his assistance.
- Elisabeth Brichet - a 12-year-old Belgian girl. She disappeared from Namur in 1989 after playing with a friend. Her disappearance was long thought to be at the hands of Marc Dutroux, until Fourniret led police to her burial site on his estate in France.
- Natacha Danais - a 13-year-old French girl, disappeared in 1990.
- Farida Hellegouarch - the girlfriend of one of the members of the Gang des postiches (a gang of bank robbers), a former cellmate of Fourniret's. Fourniret killed her in 1990 to access the group's funds. He bought his castle in France with the money.
- Céline Saison - 18-year-old who disappeared in 2000 in Sedan, her body was found in Belgium.
- Manyana Thumpong - 18-year-old who disappeared in 2001 from Charleville-Mézieres. Her body was also later found in Belgium.
- An unidentified man - Fourniret killed this man in a robbery for some quick cash.
Fourniret's wife has also said that he killed a 16-year-old girl who had worked as an au pair at their house. Fourniret allegedly killed her in 1993, but this has not been confirmed. The identity of this alleged victim is not known.
Fourniret has been sentenced to life in prison. This is the most severe punishment the judges can give. He can apply for parole after 30 years. His wife Olivier was found to be the driving force behind the murders. She has also been given a life sentence. She can ask for parole for the first time after 28 years.