The young Sihem Belouahmia, a high school student, had been missing since the evening of Wednesday January 25. She had gone to her grandmother’s at the end of the day, in the Habitarelle district of a small town in Gard called Salles-du-Gardon. At 11:30 p.m., the young woman left her grandmother’s home, as reported by our colleagues from Parisian. Some of her friends claim that she had informed them of her intention to go to the home of the man who is now the main suspect in this case.

From his name Mahfoud H., the 39-year-old man confessed overnight from Wednesday to Thursday between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Some rumors suggested that the man would have taken Sihem into his vehicle the evening of his disappearance, following which Mahfoud H. was placed in police custody on Tuesday January 31. At first glance, the man did not show anything to the police.

He had indeed claimed on the day of his arrest to have spent the evening of January 25 with one of his friends. The investigators then favored the trail of the kidnapping. Several relatives of Sihem had gone to the home of Mahfoud H., hoping to obtain an explanation for the disappearance of their friend. The discussion had turned sour and the tension was such that the police had been forced to intervene.

It should also be noted that Mahfoud H. was already known to Justice: he had been convicted 13 times for aggravated theft. He also had an appointment, the day after his arrest, at the Assize Court of Gard for a case involving him and dating from 2011. The man would then have sequestered two tobacconists with a view to robbing them.

During his confession, the suspect remained relatively brief.

First, the main suspect pointed on a map to the location where he left the body of his alleged victim. Sihem’s body was therefore found shortly after, in a forest adjoining the town in which the grandmother and the alleged murderer of the victim live. Regarding the circumstances of the death of the young woman, Mahfoud H. delivered a version of the facts which has yet to be verified by the investigators.

According to the suspect, an argument broke out between Sihem and him on the evening of January 25. He would then have tried to silence the victim by putting his hand in front of her mouth, following which she would have died of suffocation. An autopsy will soon be able to confirm or not his statements.

The cause of the dispute, meanwhile, remains relatively unclear, but the nature of the relationship of the two principals involved could provide explanations on this level.

Sihem and Mahfoud saw each other regularly. This is one of the only certainties that investigators can cling to at the moment. The relationship that bound them was ambiguous to say the least: not only was the young woman the cousin by marriage of the forties, but the two protagonists of this sordid story also had more than 20 years of difference.

According to the words of Mahfoud H. expressed in police custody, Sihem would have been madly in love with him. Mahfoud H. would have been a close friend of Sihem’s family for some time, despite his breakup with his ex-partner, who was none other than the victim’s cousin.