The remains of a 9-year-old French girl who mysteriously went missing from a wedding last year have been found.
Investigators said they found the remains of Maëlys De Araujo in a snow-covered ravine, the Independent reported.
She went missing in August last year in the middle of a wedding in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, north of Grenoble, the BBC reported.
Araujo’s disappearance at the time spurred nationwide concern. That was 6 months ago.
Nordahl Lelandais, a 34-year-old man who attended the wedding, has now admitted to investigators that he killed the girl “involuntarily,” before hiding her body and returning to the wedding celebration.
He later dumped her body into the ravine.
And so, six months later, we have finally found out the truth about #Maelys #kidnapping disappearance in #France ? RIP #MaelysdeAraujo – I cannot even imagine what her parents are going through… https://t.co/zqx9FLkIo5
— Maria Monteiro PR (@mlpmonteiro) February 14, 2018
— GinaMakesWaves (@GinaMakesWaves) December 28, 2017
According to the BBC, Lelandais only agreed to co-operate with authorities after a trace of Araujo’s blood was found on the dashboard of his car.
It’s unclear what the killer meant by his “involuntarily” comment. As of writing, more details surrounding the case had not been released yet.
Lelandais, a former army dog handler, was a guest at the wedding and had already been charged earlier over her disappearance, according to the Independent.
Since then, Lelandais has maintained his innocence, according to the BBC, and had reportedly spent hours the next day cleaning his car with powerful detergents, claiming he was preparing to sell it.
After the evidence of blood was also found in his car boot, he changed his approach, eventually leading authorities to the location of the girl’s remains.
A Facebook page dedicated to finding the girl posted a touching tribute on Facebook over the news.
In court, Lelandais admitted he “got rid of the body,” and apologized to the girl’s parents, prosecutor Jean-Yves Coquillat said, according to the BBC.
Earlier, Lelandais had also admitted that the girl was in his car the night she disappeared.
Araujo attended the wedding with her parents and older sister. She was last seen in a playroom before her disappearance.
In the aftermath of her disappearance last year, around 100 officers, including divers and dog handlers conducted a wide-reaching search of the nearby area.
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