Police hunt father after wife and children slain

A huge manhunt was underway in southern France on Wednesday to track down a father, suspected of the quadruple murder of his wife and their three children, aged two, eight and nine, who were found dead earlier this week.

Police hunt father after wife and children slain
Police in southern France are hunting Abdelkarim El Kadaoui, 43, suspected of massacring his wife and three young children this week. Photo: AFP/Gendarmerie/Google Maps

Abdelkarim El Kadaoui is suspected of slaying his wife and three young children after their bodies were found in the village of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, in the Drôme region of southern France.

The shocking events began on Monday when El Kadaoui's 29-year-old wife Fouzia was discovered in a pool of blood at her mother's house, after being stabbed 47 times, according to a prosecutor in nearby Valence.

French daily Le Parisien reported that she had been living with her mother since the end of last year and feared for her safety at the hands of her husband.

After the shocking discovery of Fouzia's body on Monday, police began a desperate search for the missing three children – a son and two daughters.

But on Tuesday morning their bodies were found by their father's brother in the back of the family car, which had been parked out of sight behind a barn, just 500 metres from where the mother’s body had been found.

According to the same prosecutor, two of the children were suffocated, while marks around the neck suggested the third had been strangled.

El Kadaoui, 43, who works as a bricklayer, is the chief suspect and had been convicted of committing acts of violence against his wife in 2006. The two were due to separate.

Local prosecutor Antoine Paganelli said: “El Kadaoui had told his brother he had made a mistake and said ‘tell mum to forgive me’. From this moment all efforts have been focused on finding the husband."

A witness claims to have seen El Kadaoui in his car at around 1am on Tuesday morning, with the children asleep in the back.

Later that day police sniffer dogs detected a trace that lead into a forested area but the trail was later lost.

Police say substantial resources have been mobilised to track down El Kadaoui, with around 90 officers, three sniffer dogs and a helicopter hunting the suspect. 

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French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

France’s Economy Minister has praised the work of Bordeaux law officers, after they seized more than 2.4 tonnes of cannabis resin with an estimated street value in excess of €19 million.

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

Bruno Le Maire and Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal in a joint statement: “Once again, Customs distinguished itself with an exceptional seizure of cannabis, recalling its key role in the fight against drug trafficking. We congratulate the customs officers for their daily commitment to the protection of our fellow citizens.”

Two people were taken into custody after officers stopped a lorry from Spain on the A63, near the Saugnac-et-Muret toll area, just south of Bordeaux, on Monday.

According to Le Figaro, the drugs were hidden in side compartments of the lorry, and concealed by its stated load of wheat, and were discovered by a sniffer dog during the stop.

In total, 2,414.8kg of cannabis resin and 9.75kg of cannabis herb were intercepted by the Bordeaux brigade, with an estimated value of more than €19 million on the illicit market.

Since the end of July, 2022, Customs officials have seized nearly 73 tonnes of drugs, including 41.2 tonnes of cannabis.

The French drugs squad is now investigating to determine the point of origin of the drugs, as well as their destination and the crime network behind the smuggling attempt.