In the old orange farm where she grew up, on the heights of Aumontzey, Louisette was brought up to the rhythm of the pigs, hens and other gallinaceans that perfumed the courtyard of the building. His mother, Adeline Jacob, born Gaudel, corresponds to the classic maternal figure: reputed to be sweet, tender, she maintains the bond between her children.
For his part, Leon, the patriarch, is known to be sympathetic, as long as he stays away from the bottle. An eccentric and versatile man whose abuse is “excused”, in the family, by his past as a veteran of the First World War.
In the 1950s, Louisette was the only child still living within the walls of the old barn in Aumontzey. As a teenager, she could neither read, nor write, nor decipher the time… But she was endowed with a certain common sense, was good at conversation and showed an excellent memory. And this, despite his bursts of laughter as confusing as they are absurd, which often surprise in the middle of a sentence, like a hair in the soup.
Some time later, in 1953, Louisette gave birth to a little girl whom she named Chantal… And whose father no one knew at the time. This is where lies the heart of a terrible secret that the crow nevertheless pretends to ignore in his infamous missives. One day, the young mother ends up revealing the identity of the parent, who is none other than Léon, her father.
Following a moral investigation carried out at the Jacob’s home, the father of the family is placed in a rehab at the Mirecourt hospital, a few dozen kilometers away. Léon totally denies this and accuses Albert Villemin, his sworn enemy, of being his daughter’s lover.
In the family, no one is fooled. In front of the gendarmes, Monique Villemin, Louisette’s older sister, answers in the affirmative: Léon is indeed Chantal’s father. “It was my mother who told us that she was pregnant by my father. What do you want us to say? It was not easy to live with. My mother has not left the house, but she no longer slept with my father,” she says.
From then on, Adeline, deeply shocked by this sordid discovery, sank into alcoholism and grief before leaving the marital bed, where Louisette was quick to replace her until the death of her father in 1972. Adeline, she , survived him only three years, before dying in his sleep.
When its two owners died, the dilapidated Jacob’s barn passed not to one of their children but to their son-in-law, Marcel Laroche. Bernard’s father, who left his son in the hands of the couple on the death of his wife, Thérèse, devoted himself body and soul to keeping Léon and Adeline’s building in good condition.
Forever faithful to the Jacob family, Marcel lets Louisette live in the house to avoid the hospice… And to be able to stay close to his daughter who also suffers from a disability. “Louisette had a mental problem, but it was above all her daughter, Chantal, the fruit of incest, who was mentally retarded”, articulates journalist Patricia Tourancheau, author of Grégory – La machination familial (ed. Seuil).
When his father died of cancer in 1982, Bernard Laroche inherited the house and felt invested with a mission to protect Louisette and her daughter. Because if Bernard doesn’t take care of them, who will? Monique Villemin, Louisette’s eldest, would prefer her other sisters, according to some family members.
It must be said that, since that summer, Albert’s wife is no longer welcome within these walls. Shortly after his father’s death, Bernard Laroche would have surprised Monique and other members of the siblings rummaging through the drawers.
Father Laroche therefore goes to his dear aunt’s every day, where he dines, tinkers and, when necessary, winds up Louisette’s alarm clock.
Fortunately, according to the author Patricia Tourancheau, he was not the only one to worry about the fate of these two women: with him, Marcel Jacob and his wife, Jacqueline, “were a bit those who said they were defending Louisette who had a incestuous relationship with his father Léon and who had a daughter”, specifies the journalist.
A concern that already put them in opposition to a well-known branch of the family, Grégory’s parents…
“The couple Jacob and Bernard Laroche did not like Jean-Marie and Christine very much, who were considered, him as ‘the chef’, and she as ‘the minx'”, articulates Patricia Tourancheau. Before adding: “It’s ok play a role in relations between the Laroches and the Villemins. Bernard Laroche reproached his cousin for not having taken good care of Louisette, he said that she had been abandoned to her fate with her daughter Chantal”.
For his part, Marcel Jacob’s lawyer, Me Stéphane Giuranna, does not confirm that there was a particularly close relationship between Louisette and his client. About the Jacob couple, he says: “They were close to everyone, very close to Bernard Laroche because they live a few meters away. Everyone rubbed shoulders […] these are very limited municipalities in terms of of habitats, they worked in the same towns”.
A statement shared by his colleague, Me Frédéric Berna, counsel to Jacqueline Jacob. “I absolutely do not confirm the fact that Marcel and Jacqueline Jacob were able to take Louisette under their wing. Marcel was close to Bernard Laroche, they are neighbors, so when Bernard Laroche is killed, they are the first to arrive on the scene, they ‘have seen dying, but I do not confirm you at all for Louisette, I did not see that in the file”, insists the lawyer.
Among Louisette’s protectors, there is also the nest of a cursed bird: the crow that has been harassing the Villemins for years. Thibaut Solano, author of La Voix Rauque (ed. Les Arènes), maintains with Planet: “This crow uses the most painful secrets to harm his targets, playing on their weaknesses, and yet, there is still one secret that he never talks about to my knowledge: the incest of Louisette by her father Léon”.
That being said, what can we think of the reason that would push a bird yet so evil to hide such a maze? “If he wanted to hurt Monique, he could have talked about it, about his incestuous father. Is it because he was too close to that father, to that secret? was concerned?” asks Thibaut Solano. “She is protected, and that still indicates something,” breathes Patricia Tourancheau.
Regarding the identity of this or these crows who harassed the Villemin couple, several names will be mentioned in the file, until 2021 when new stylometric analyzes provide new details. While this technique has already solved several criminal cases in the United States, this is the very first time it has been used in a legal case, in France. Result, according to the experts, there is “a strong probability that the 24 letters of the crow come (…) from five different authors” and there is “a style highly similar to that used by Jacqueline Jacob”. Among the letters that could have been written by Jacqueline Jacob, the one claiming the assassination of little Grégory: “I hope that you will die of grief, the chief. It is not the money that will be able to give you back your son. my revenge. Poor bastard”.
But back to Louisette. If she is nicknamed “the simplette”, she is however far from being unaware of the evils which corrode her peers. She is even the only one, among her siblings, to dare to reveal the worst: she confides that her father hit her mother with the fork, and that he was violent with her children.
In the heckling of the Grégory affair, Louisette Jacob could, there too, be one of the keys to the mystery. She is indeed the alibi of Bernard Laroche and Murielle Bolle, who claim to have been with Chantal and “aunt Louisette” at the time of the child’s abduction on October 16, 1984.
In her first version of the facts, delivered on October 31, 1984, Murielle Bolle claims to have taken the school bus when she left school at 5 p.m. She would have arrived twenty minutes later at Louisette Jacob in Aumontzey, where she would have joined Bernard Laroche and his son Sébastien. Ten minutes later, they would both be off to buy several cases of wine from the Champion supermarket before heading home shortly after 6 p.m.
Bernard Laroche, first accused in the investigation for the murder of Grégory Villemin, supports these statements. During his first deposition, he even added that he advised his aunt and cousin to buy a box of ravioli for dinner. Only one downside: the testimonies of Louisette and Chantal Jacob cannot be credited given their mental health and especially their inability to tell the time.
Still, mother and daughter were heard in Judge Lambert’s office on November 9, 1984, revealing a detail that is very important. When the two women were asked what they had eaten on the day of the child’s disappearance, they both exclaimed: “Ravioli!”, thus corroborating the statements of Bernard Laroche. It should be noted that this statement by the suspect had not been disclosed to the press at this time of the investigation.
In his book The Grégory Affair – Or The Curse of Vologne (Ed. Archipel), Bernard Laroche’s lawyer, Me Gérard Welzer, deplores several blunders. He particularly regrets a detail appearing in the judgment of dismissal pronounced by the Dijon Court of Appeal in 1993 to exonerate Christine Villemin. It is written, on page 69 of the document, that a new element was collected thanks to the additional information.
Several witnesses, including Marie-Ange Bolle, widow of Bernard Laroche, allegedly claimed that Louisette Jacob’s first hearing could have been neglected because of her disability… Despite her “common sense”, her “excellent memory” and her inability to lie.
Judge Maurice Simon, who took over the investigation of the case in 1987, had decided to have Louisette heard before the investigators of the Dijon research section before taking her statement himself, twice.
In her book, Me Welzer quotes page 3 of Louisette’s report: “When Grégory was killed, Murielle, while reading the newspaper, was crying. She told me that she was in the car with Bernard, Sébastien, Bernard’s son and little Grégory, but she didn’t know why Bernard had come back alone”. A “new odd”, according to the lawyer.
Louisette Jacob, a young disabled woman with a tragic destiny, was perhaps one of the only people who could lift the veil on this macabre affair. She died in 2007, at the age of 72, certainly taking the truth with her.