The investigation has only just begun and it will have to answer many questions. The village of Bretoncelles, in Orne, has been in shock since the end of August and the discovery of a decomposing body in a house that seemed uninhabited for several years. It was the mayor of the town, Daniel Chevée, who was able to lead the gendarmes to this macabre discovery at the very end of the summer. Without a coincidence, the lifeless body of Albertine – who would be 98 years old today – could have remained between the four walls of her house for a long time.
It all started on July 13, when the elected official worried about the effects of the heat wave for his oldest constituents. “I decided to personally call everyone over the age of 90,” he tells Planet, “and found out at the time that person didn’t have a phone.” These are things that happen, but in this village of 1,478 inhabitants, we always manage to reach someone, one way or another. Above all, he specifies, this woman is the mother-in-law of his assistant, A., who does not seem to be worried.
Daniel Chevée decides to go there all the same, to speak orally with the nonagenarian, but finds himself facing a house which seems to him uninhabited and whose door remains closed. “The days that followed I put a little pressure on my assistant, to ask her for information, I came back to the charge regularly. They told me ‘everything is fine’, but I was starting to worry a little bit,'” he continued to Planet.
The situation could have ended there if the city councilor had not crossed paths with a citizen at the end of August. The latter asks him if he can give her news of Marguerite, but this name means nothing to him. He quickly understands that people are talking to him about Albertine, about whom he tries to hear from himself. He then explains that to his knowledge she still lives in his house, but the answer leaves him speechless: “We were told that there was no one who had lived in this house for at least three years”.
Not knowing who to believe, Daniel Chevée is direct with his assistant: “I again put pressure on his mother-in-law and I told her that if she had not been elected I would have called the gendarmerie since a long time”. We are then on August 25 and, four days later, A. announces to him that his mother-in-law has died. He then gives the alert to the gendarmes, who go to the home of the nonagenarian. It will take them some time to find his body…
Searched from top to bottom by the gendarmes, the house gives no clue as to what could have happened, not even a body. Where has Albertine gone? It is only the next day that the crime squad understands that the body is there, but that there is almost nothing left. Questioned by Planet, Mayor Daniel Chevée clarified that there were “only small bones scattered around the house by vermin”. The vertebral prosthesis worn by the nonagenarian will perhaps make it possible to identify her. Scientists will also have to precisely date the time of death, which would be between 5 and 10 years.
How can an old person disappear for so long without anyone caring? In Bretoncelles, it is the shock wave, because the son of Albertine, born in the village, was known to all. Didn’t he know his mother had been dead for so long? “D. had a very good reputation in the village, he is an intelligent, cultured person, with whom it is easy to communicate”, affirms the mayor, adding, also in shock: “It was also our Santa Claus for 15 years for the municipality!”
How could this death have been concealed for so long? Did the deputy mayor know something?
After the stupor, the village is now trying to understand what happened. According to our information, the deputy mayor was not aware of the death of her mother-in-law, because the two women had not had a relationship for years. “We took away all her functions of course and the post of deputy will be abolished at the next municipal council”, confides Daniel Chevée, adding: “She too is trying to understand, she wonders why her husband did that”.
Albertine’s son, seriously ill for several years, has been hospitalized since the discovery of the body in the house. According to information from Perche, “he would have confessed to having seen his deceased mother on his bed”, but “did not, however, give a precise date of this discovery”. According to the first findings, the death of this woman could well go back ten years.