Many of us would like to think that if we ever saw someone in need of help, we would rush to their rescue without a second thought. And while that much may be true for the majority of us, there are some among us who would think twice about helping a disheveled, bound teenage girl running down a street at night.
Thankfully for this particular 13-year-old, someone did throw caution to the wind in order to do the right thing and came to her aid. It wasn’t until police began questioning her, that they discovered the iceberg of her abductor’s crimes went deeper than they could ever have believed…
The 13-year-old Belgian girl had broken free from the van where she had been held. Her wrists and ankles were still wrapped in the trappings of her confinement. She cursed herself for believing what the man had said, for having gone with him, but she couldn’t think of that now, she had to keep running. She had to find the police. Before she could though, a passing motorist saw her plight and stopped.
The girl was taken to a local hospital and seemed none the worse for wear. When police arrived, they told her that she was very lucky to have survived as a serial killer had been on the loose in that part of the world for the past few years and the whole ordeal stunk of his method, even if he had been arrested some years prior. She told them they were wrong, as her attacker had told her in no uncertain terms that he had been “much better” than Marc Dutroux…
Not the One
Marc Dutroux had been apprehended many years before for the killing of a 12-year-old Belgian girl but was cleared of the crime. He was arrested in 1996 along with his wife, who apparently helped him commit a number of murders, rapes, and kidnappings during the course of their time together. But if this wasn’t a Dutroux copycat, that meant there were two serial killers active in Belgium at the same time.
The good samaritan who had saved the 13-year-old had taken a moment to grab the license plate number of the nearby van. That, coupled with the information provided by the young girl led the police to the large, country chateau of an ex-con and his nurse wife. Digging a little deeper, they found that the man who owned the house had a record and it was one that required a bit more investigation…
Michel Fourniret was born in France on April 4, 1942. He had always had a close relationship with his mother, but as he entered adolescence that relationship began to change into something much more unsavory. He and his mother had multiple incestuous encounters over the next few years and it warped his entire outlook on sexuality, especially his opinions on virginity.
Fourniret married his first wife and soon learned that she, unlike himself, was not a virgin and had been with other men before they’d gotten together. He became repulsed by her and obsessed with the idea of having sex with virgins. That obsession would see him attacking and molesting more than 15 young girls around Paris over the next few years…
Eventually, Fourniret was caught and sent to prison for his crimes. He became lonely and decided to place ads in a publication for Roman Catholics looking for penpals. It was through this service that he met future girlfriend and fellow divorcee, Monique Olivier. The two began a long correspondence with one another that saw them sharing not only lighthearted dreams, but also dark fantasies.
Monique and Fourniret were writing letters to one another almost every day and in them, the two would-be lovers confessed their darkest secrets. Fourniret told her about how he had been abused as a child and about his crimes and depraved sexual fantasies. His obsession with kidnapping and raping young women did not repulse her however. Quite the opposite in fact: she wanted to help…
Fourniret’s disturbing admission only drew Olivier further into his web. His honesty, his fearlessness, it seemed to entice her. When he finally got out of prison, the two took up with one another and decided that they were going to help him realize his fantasies once more. They formed a sort of sick pact that would see her helping him find victims and him helping her to “take care of” her irritating ex-husband.
Despite what you may think, Monique Olivier was no lovesick fool. Quite the opposite, she saw Fourniret’s predilections as an opportunity to be rid of her first husband. If he would do that for her, she pledged to help him abduct young women and girls. In the end he never murdered her ex-husband, but that didn’t stop her from keeping up her end of the bargain. Soon the two were using every tactic available to them to commit the spree of the century…
Killing for Profit
Before the kidnapping, murder, and rape of these girls could occur, however, Fourniret had to get out of jail. But he used his time inside wisely. He shared a cell with bank robber Jean-Pierre Hellegouarch in the 1980s, who made the mistake of telling Fourniret where he’d hidden a large cache of purloined coinage. When he was released in 1990, Founiret strangled the bank robber’s 30-year-old wife, Farida, to death and stole the money. Which he used to buy an immense castle in the mountainous Ardennes region of France.
The castle, which was located near the country’s border with Belgium was the perfect spot for Foruniret to carry out his brutal string of crimes. It was a massive estate with plenty of privacy and he eventually buried some of the bodies of his victims on the grounds. Fourniret and Olivier lived in Burgundy, France most of the time, but they kept the castle for special occasions…
Free at Last
The two did not waste any time in beginning their killing spree. Not two months after Fourniret was released, Olivier convinced a 17-year-old schoolgirl named Isabelle Laville to get into her vehicle. She picked up her boyfriend, who raped Isabelle and murdered her, before throwing her body into a well. It was tactics like this that made the trustworthy-looking Olivier the perfect accomplice.
Monique Olivier was fond of using her trustworthy nature to lure victims into a false sense of security. Once the girls were in her car, they were doomed. When she became pregnant with Fourniret’s child, her pregnant belly made her seem even more amiable. She once even pretended that she was in desperate need of medical attention to convince 20-year-old Fabienne Leroy to get into her car and help. This continued on for years…
Living His Fantasy
Michel Fourniret was living his fantasy. He had a loving partner who supported his…unorthodox interests, more money than he needed, and a beautiful home. In 1989, he kidnapped 22-year-old law student Jeanne-Marie Desramault, from a train station, and he raped and murdered her. Soon, his tastes grew younger. 12, 13, 18: it seemed there was no limit to his depravities.
A Bevy of Victims
The police were finding bodies left and right and even after they arrested Marc Dutroux, the killings continued. They believed them to be unrelated until the 13-year-old kidnap victim made her escape. Looking into Fourniret’s criminal history, the police realized that they had been wrong to ignore such obvious signs of violent tendencies after he had been released from prison. Unfortunately, it was far too late…
She Comes Clean
Unsurprisingly, Fourniret denied kidnapping the teenager. He had been questioned many times since he’d done his time and he always took umbrage whenever law enforcement accused him of such depravities. His wife however, well, she was another story entirely. She had helped him for so many years, but the escape of this girl meant the jig was up. She decided to come clean.
A Gruesome Tale
Olivier spun a most disturbing tale to police. It was a story of abduction, murder, and sexual abuse that spanned decades. At first, she made it seem like she had been forced, coerced into helping her husband commit these crimes. She felt that her son would be in danger if she didn’t do exactly what he said. Soon enough though, police discovered the truth…
In reality, what we know about Monique Olvier’s true place in her hudband’s crime is mostly conjecture. We assume, by virtue of the letters they wrote to one another during his initial incarceration, that she was on-board with every vile deed that Fourniret was going to commit in the years to come. Yet it’s entirely possible she was as much a victim of her husband as the women he tortured and killed.
The Ogre of Ardennes
Fourniret’s immense mountain castle and murderous ways reminded many of the villainous ogre from the fairytale of Puss in Boots and so the press named him “Ogre of the Ardennes.” He was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole and his conviction urged France to create a sex offender registry in order to keep a closer eye on violent paroles.