Police are investigating the theory that the 24-year-old IT student named Sid Ahmed Ghlam murdered a young dance enthusiast named Aurélie Châtelain, on the same day he planned to carry out attacks on at least one church in the southern Paris suburb of Villejuif.
Châtelain was found shot dead in the passenger seat of her car. It is believed she was killed in a botched attempt by the suspect to steal her car.
The 32-year-old woman, known as Lily, was found dead in her car in the suburb of Villejuif on Sunday morning. She had been shot once. Her body was found in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Subsequent forensic tests revealed that the terror suspect's blood was found all over the vehicle.
Passersby spotted her body in the car as smoke poured out of the car from an overheating laptop.
The murder, which had made the news in the French press, had left detectives baffled. Her own father told AFP that “she had no enemies”.
The young woman from Caudry, northern France, who was mother to five-year-old Juliette, had only recently written on her Facebook page how happy she was to be in Paris, where she had come to follow a pilates training course.
“Arrived at Clamart! Tomorrow, heading to Villejuif. Found a hotel 20 minutes walk away…so happy!!!” read the message, posted at 11.26pm on Saturday evening.
It now appears that she may have been the victim of Islamist terrorism for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It appears the 24-year-old suspect wanted her car to use in the attacks he planned that morning and she was shot in the process.
On Wednesday her friends and family, already consumed by grief, spoke of their utter shock that she could have been the victim of an Islamist terrorist, who was all set to carry out another bloody attack on France, just three months after the country was left traumatized when 17 people were killed in a terror attack in Paris.
Speaking on Wednesday, Guy Bricout, the mayor of Châtelain's hometown of Caudry, called for her to be awarded the prestigious Legion of Honour.