A couple from the Corrèze region of central France who were the subject of an extensive police search after their three young children were found abandoned last week have been found safe and well – enjoying a holiday in the south of France.
The father, 37, was arrested by Marseille police after he was found smoking a joint. It was only when they took his name that they realised he was the man who along with hisaife, had sparked a nationwide police search.
Apparently unconcerned by the welfare of his children he was found chilling out in the 11th district of the Mediterranean city of Marseille.
According to Le Parisien newspaper he said he couldn’t understand why he was in trouble because “he had left his kids with their nanny.”
His 22-year-old girlfriend, mother to their three children, was also found after she called the police station on Monday night to get news of her partner. She too was taken into police custody.
The bizarre chain of events began last Wednesday when the couple, as usual, left their two youngest children – a two-month-old baby and a two-year-old – with their respective nannies. However the parents never showed up to collect them that evening, at which point the nannies alerted the local police.
This sparked an extensive search for the couple and their third child – a six-year-old daughter, in the Corrèze region, with a helicopter drafted in to aid search teams. A lake near the family's home was also the subject of a search by police divers.
Two days later there was a further twist when the six-year-old was found at the home of her nanny. The six-year-old girl had reportedly arrived alone in a taxi. She reportedly told police that it was her mother who had put her in the taxi, a fact later confirmed by the taxi driver.
The reappearance of the daughter seemed to confirm suspicions of child abandonment rather than disappearance. Further clues pointing to the fact the couple were alive and well came on Sunday when their car was found near Mauriac in the Cantal region.
According to Le Parisien, the siblings are currently under social care in Corrèze whilst the investigation continues. A legal source said, the couple are “in the process of losing custody of their three children” most probably due to “lack of care” and the father’s “regular drinking.”