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Louis Sentenced To Life For Murdering 'Disappeared Of The Yonne'
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 30, 2004

AUXERRE, FRANCE--Seventy-year-old retired bus driver Emile Louis was sentenced Thursday to life in prison over the murders of seven women with mental disabilities.

Louis will have to spend at least 18 years behind bars for the crimes. He is already serving a 20-year sentence for raping his second wife and his daughter-in-law. He is appealing that conviction from March of this year.

On Wednesday, Didier Seban, a lawyer representing the victims' families, told Louis: "You, Monsieur Louis, will one day have a grave around which your children can gather. They will have no grave. May they haunt your sleep, your days, your nights . . . the kingdom of emptiness - it is you!"

The seven young women between the ages of 16 and 29 vanished in the Yonne region about 100 miles southeast of Paris between 1975 and 1979. All of them were served through the local social service network. Louis knew all of the women because he transported them to and from their day program center.

In December of 2000, Louis confessed to police that he had sex with the women, then murdered them and then buried their bodies along a river bank. Police recovered just two bodies from the site. The other five have never been found.

Louis later withdrew his confession and said that the women had been kidnapped by a local prostitution ring, and that he had only acted as a chauffer to the real killers.

When police went back to further investigate the deaths of the seven women, along with seventeen others who had disappeared around the same time, they discovered that many of the women had been listed simply as "fugitives" and that no further investigations were done. They also discovered that police records for some cases were missing.

Many of the women, whom required "daily care", were simply noted in social service records as "runaways" or "voluntarily left the facility". Some of their disappearances were not even reported to police.

Investigators found that nearly all of the files on cases that were opened and later dropped by the prosecutor's office in Auxerre between 1958 and 1982 -- including many cases of missing women -- had simply been stolen or destroyed.

The controversy has been fueled by rumors that high-level authorities were involved in prostitution rings, and that the investigation records were destroyed to cover up the crimes and police misconduct.

Added to the intrigue is the fact that Christian Jambert -- the only investigator who pursued the cases -- appeared to have committed suicide just weeks before he was scheduled to present evidence against Louis. Earlier this year, an examination of Jambert's body revealed that he had been shot by two bullets of different types, fired from different angles.

A rifle and a folder of related documents have since vanished.

Louis' attorney, Alain Thuault, called the conviction a mistake.

"You have all been conditioned - just like public opinion has been conditioned," he told the jurors. "It is not your fault, but Emile Louis has been prematurely judged by the man in the street."


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