Summary of the case. Part 1
24 septembre 2008
Antoine's mother and her partner remanded in custody.
The investigation into the disappearance of Antoine, aged six and a half, reported missing on September 11th in Issoire (Puy-de-Dôme) accelerated on Wednesday when eight people were placed on remand, including the child's mother and her partner. Alexandrine, aged 23, and her partner Sébastien, aged 29, were placed on remand on Wednesday afternoon together with six others, "close to the couple," Jean-Yves Coquillat, Clermont-Ferrand prosecutor, told AFP.
According to a source close to the investigation, they are in custody with the Issoire and Clermant-Ferrand gendarmerie.
"The investigating magistrates and the investigators consider that they have sufficient evidence to proceed at this stage, to put questions to them," explained the prosecutor, refusing to say what the new evidence was.
In the afternoon. the investigators, assisted by forensic specialists and technicians, carried out a , "much more thorough," search for almost two hours in the mother's apartment in old Issoire.
"The gendarmes ripped up the floor to take new samples, the results of which will be known during the term of remand," explained M. Coquillat.
A few days ago, two small drops of the little boy's blood were revealed in Antoine's bedroom. But the prosecutor had then considered that this did not constitute, "a decisive element, since these spots (may) have been left following a nose bleed or accidental cut."
During their remand, the investigators will question the couple and those close to them about a number of grey areas remaining in this case, notably on the exact date of the child's disappearance.
"We need some answers," stressed the magistrate, who will give a press briefing on Thursday at 5pm.
The once favoured idea that the little boy ran away had rapidly lost all consistency, and on September 14th the prosecutor opened an investigation for, "abduction and sequestration of a minor."
Antoine's mother had told the investigators several times that she had gone out to a restaurant for dinner with her partner on September 11th at around 8pm, and that they discovered the child's disappearance on their return, at around 9.15pm. But the child, who went back to school on September 2nd, has not been in class since, because of gastro-enteritis, according to his mother, who never responded to calls from the school's director who was worried by this absence.
According to witnesses, the child was seen for the last time on September 6th.
The gendarmes continued meanwhile to gather witness statements on the personality of the mother and her partner, both of whom have already served prison sentences for trafficking of narcotics.
"These people are somewhat strange," stressed the prosecutor. "This became apparent over the course of the interviews and that is why we are continuing to gather witness statements, because we need as much evidence as possible from the witnesses and people who know them," he said.