Tuesday, May 24

Maëlys case: the gray areas of the Nordahl Lelandais trial

Nordahl Lelandais appears from this Monday before the Assize Court of Isère in Grenoble for the murder preceded by kidnapping of Maëlys De Araujo, 8 years old, on August 27, 2017 in Pont-de-Beauvoisin (Isère). A trial that raises many expectations and should remove doubts about the circumstances of the tragedy and the personality of the accused.

Nearly 250 journalists are accredited to follow the debates which are scheduled for 8 weeks, until February 18. For the acts with which he is charged (murder, kidnapping and kidnapping) the accused incurs life imprisonment.

Many questions remain around a case that caused a stir in France in 2017. Already sentenced last May to 20 years in prison for the murder of Corporal Arthur Noyer, the 38-year-old former dog handler, also suspected of sexual assault on three minors, did not reveal all the sides of his personality.

The personality of Lelandais

Many questions remain unanswered concerning the enigmatic thirty-something. During the trial for the murder of Arthur Noyer, he had been described by experts as a fragile man in search of control to avoid a psychological breakdown. Faced with his friends who implored him at the bar to “relieve himself from the truth”, he seemed to waver but did not go back on his version of the facts.

Lelandais had explained that he had “lost” himself at the end of 2016-beginning of 2017, a few months before the deaths of Arthur Noyer and Maëlys De Araujo. To the chaplain of the penitentiary center of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), where he is imprisoned in solitary confinement, he confided that he lived “without safeguards” from that time.

In a book where he notably evokes his first meeting with his client in September 2017, the lawyer Alain Jakubowicz had described a “lost” man whom nothing seemed to interest “apart from his passion for dogs and motorcycles” and whose social life was limited to “looking for sexual partners on social networks”.

The Maelys case

Many questions also surround the night of the disappearance of Maëlys, August 27, 2017 around 3 a.m. The 8-year-old girl was present for a wedding evening which her parents attended, in the village hall of Pont-de-Beauvoisin (Isère).

Nordahl Lelandais, a friend of the groom, was quickly suspected and then indicted for “kidnapping”, on September 3 after the discovery of a trace of DNA in his car.

On November 30, the investigators had put forward video surveillance images showing, according to them, that the suspect had left the party with the child before returning alone. He was then indicted for murder.

During the first months of the investigation, Nordahl Lelandais delivered different versions. If he admitted that Maëlys had gotten into his car, no one is yet certain about the conditions and the suspect continues to affirm that the death of the girl is an accident. The circumstances surrounding this death remain unclear.

“The question of a possible sexual motive will probably arise”, even if the prosecution for rape was dismissed during the investigation for lack of evidence.


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