Geneva (AFP), March 29 – A French family battling conspiracy theories jumped one after another from their seventh-floor apartment in the Swiss town of Montreux, police investigating the mystery said on Tuesday.
Only a 15-year-old boy survived last Thursday’s tragedy near the casino in the wealthy city of Lake Geneva. He is in a coma in stable condition in hospital.
The Vaud regional police announced on Tuesday that their findings “allow us to rule out the intervention of a third party and suggest that all the victims jumped from the balcony one after the other”.
Police and prosecutors are working on the “collective suicide” theory.
A 40-year-old man, his 41-year-old wife, her twin sister, the couple’s eight-year-old daughter and their boy plunged more than 20 meters from the apartment, where they all lived “withdrawn from society”, according to the police. .
– Chronology of events –
Investigators said two officers knocked on the apartment door at 6.15am, wanting to speak with the father about home schooling arrangements for his son.
A voice asked who was at the door, but then said no more. Unable to enter, the officers left.
Shortly before 7 a.m., all five jumped from the balcony within five minutes.
Police detected no signs of a struggle, apparently confirming that they jumped on their own. A stepladder was found on the balcony.
“Before or during the events, no witness, including the two police officers present at 6:15 a.m. and the passers-by at the foot of the building, heard the slightest noise or cry coming from the apartment or the balcony,” said said the police.
“Technical investigations show no signs of such an act,” they added, noting however that “since the start of the pandemic, the family has been very interested in conspiracy and survivalist theories”.
The family lived in near self-sufficiency having built up a well-organized stock of various foodstuffs, occupying a large part of its living space but allowing it to face a major crisis.
Only the mother’s twin sister worked outside the home, while neither the mother nor the eight-year-old girl, who did not attend school, was registered with the local authorities.
“All of this suggests…fear of the authorities interfering in their lives,” the police statement read.
– Granddaughters of an Algerian writer –
French newspaper Journal du Dimanche said the father, Eric David, grew up in a wealthy district of Marseille and attended Ecole Polytechnique, one of the most prestigious schools in the country.
The twin sisters, Nasrine and Narjisse Feraoun, grew up in a family of five children who were all educated at the elite Henri-IV high school in Paris, specifies the weekly. The mother was a dentist and her sister an ophthalmologist.
The newspaper also said the twins were the granddaughters of Algerian novelist Mouloud Feraoun.
A close friend of French philosopher Albert Camus, Feraoun was assassinated in Algiers in 1962 by a far-right French pro-colonial group.