‘Frozen in time’: Family’s sudden disappearance echoes a notorious murder mystery

Bloodstains were found in the home

The disappearance of a French family of four has gripped the European nation as it recalls a notorious 2011 family murder mystery in the same area — and a member of the missing family is connected to one of those victims.

Pascal and Brigitte Troadec, both aged around 50, along with their two children Sebastian and Charlotte, have not been seen since February 16. According to The Guardian, French authorities have launched a murder probe as bloodstains — and evidence of attempts to remove blood — were found in the family’s home outside of the western city of Nantes.

Prosecutor Pierre Sennes told The Guardian that there were no toothbrushes or hairbrushes found in the home, and that the beds had been stripped.

“It’s as if the life of the house was frozen in time,” Sennes said.

Investigators reportedly found bloodstains on 21-year-old Sebastian’s phone and on 18-year-old Charlotte’s watch, along with evidence that attempts were made to wipe blood away. Sennes told The Guardian that DNA taken from the blood in the home matched three of the four missing family members. Sebastian’s car is missing, while the parents’ car was left in the driveway of the home. There has been no activity on any of the family’s cell phones or bank accounts since February 17.

According to the Guardian report, Sebastain’s phone was the last to be turned off.

Sebastian was reportedly convicted of making death threats on his blog in 2013 and sentenced to community service. Sources familiar with the family told the newspaper the Sebastian had psychological problems and that his father had suffered from depression.

Sebastian reportedly went to high school with a member of the Dupont de Ligonnès family. Agnes Dupont de Ligonnès, her four children, and two family dogs were found killed in mid-April 2011 in the same area where the Troudec family lives. Her husband Xavier Agnes Dupont de Ligonnès, now a fugitive suspected of murdering his family, has not been seen since checking into a few hotels in France later that month.

Six years later, the murder mystery still grips the nation, with Xavier’s family reportedly believing the bodies found were not Agnes and her children. At the time the family disappeared, there were conflicting witness accounts of when both Agnes and her son Thomas were last seen. Xavier, who hailed from an aristocratic family but was unsuccessful in his own business pursuits, had reportedly told some people that he was leaving to live in the United States under the witness protection program, while telling others that the family was moving to Australia for a job opportunity.

In 2015, someone claiming to be Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès sent a photo of two Dupont de Ligonnès sons to the French news agency Agence France-Presse with the message: “Je suis encore vivant,” meaning “I am still alive.”

According to the newspaper Ouest France, electronic devices were taken from Troudec’s home, but the charging cords were left behind, as was the case with the Dupont de Ligonnès family.

Sennes told The Guardian that murder, abduction and illegal confinement are all being considered in the investigation of the Troadec family’s disappearance.

Photo: Associated Press (Sebastian and Charlotte Troadec)