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Europe

Mass student DNA tests come back negative in hunt for French school rapist

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-21

None of the 539 samples collected from male pupils and teachers at a high school in western France match that of the perpetrator who last year raped a teenage girl in the school toilets, prosecutors said Wednesday.

“The mass (amount of) samples have all come back negative, but we still have some more (samples) to take and to analyse,” Public Prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle told French radio station Europe 1.

Pagenelle said that the samples still awaiting analysis had been collected from people outside of the Fenelon-Notre-Dame high school.

More than seven months after the 16-year-old girl was raped in the toilets of the Catholic school, police have few leads in the hunt for the attacker – aside from a DNA imprint that investigators managed to retrieve from her clothing.

The victim was raped in the dark and could therefore not identify the assailant.

Last month, police in La Rochelle began collecting saliva samples of 475 students, 31 teachers and 21 other staff members at the school believed to have been present at the time of the attack.

Many of the students said they were willing to give samples in the hope of tracking down the rapist.

French courts rarely order mass DNA tests, and when they do they generally target specific categories of people.

The only example of blanket sampling was in Pleine-Fougères (Brittany), where British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson was murdered in 1996 and police tested more than 400 inhabitants the following year.

Francisco Arce Montes, a Spanish national, was not among those tested but he was arrested in the US in 2001 and convicted of the murder through an individual DNA match.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-05-21

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