Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 11:10 p.m. Sihem Belouahmia, 18, was last seen in Habitarelle, a district of the small town of Salles-du-Gardon, not far from Alès (Gard). The young high school student had just visited her 95-year-old grandmother Fatima. Very quickly, a call for witnesses was launched in the context of the worrying disappearance of an adult.
The Gard gendarmerie, among other things, shared a wanted notice on social networks. “This is a young woman, 1.69m tall, of normal build, with straight brown hair to mid-back length and brown eyes. Dressed in a brown woolen sweater, black pants and light sneakers, she was last seen in La Grand Combe (Gard). Several units are currently looking for her”, can we read on a Facebook post.
Very quickly, the investigators decree that Sihem had probably not disappeared of his own free will. The testimonies of the victim’s friends allowed the gendarmes to learn that the young woman had planned to find a man, suspected of being Mahfoud H., today the main suspect in the case according to information from the Parisian. This 39-year-old man was taken into custody on Tuesday January 31 by the gendarmes of the Nîmes research section. He was already known to the police, having been convicted a dozen times for aggravated theft.
Mahfoud H. finally confessed between two and three in the morning on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. He explained that an argument broke out between him and Sihem on the evening of the tragedy. “The suspect claims that the victim was in love with him but that he refused this relationship because Sihem was the cousin of his ex-partner”, sums up the Ile-de-France daily.
During the argument, the suspect allegedly wanted to silence Sihem by putting his hand over her mouth. The young woman would then have died of suffocation, a thesis which will have to be verified during the autopsy. The 30-year-old also gave indications to the investigators on the place where he would have left the body. Indications which allowed the investigators to find the lifeless body of the victim, in a forest of the Gard, not far from the Salles-du-Gardon. Mahfoud H. was transferred and imprisoned last night, but the investigation is continuing.