French police end search for body of schoolgirl missing since 2003


Donchery (France) (AFP)

French investigators have ended a search on properties of a convicted serial killer for the body of a schoolgirl who went missing nearly two decades ago, police said on Thursday.

Police had spent four days excavating in Ardennes in northeastern France for the body of Estelle Mouzin, who disappeared on her way home from school in 2003 when she was nine years old.

The properties were linked to convicted killer Michel Fourniret, dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes", who confessed in March to killing Mouzin, saying her body may be at one of the Ardennes buildings.

The bodies of two of his other victims had been found on the grounds of one of the properties in 2004.

All planned searches were completed but nothing was discovered, the police told AFP, adding that part of the investigation was now closed.

"We can not say that there are advances.. but some doors have been closed... places that we can now dismiss," Didier Seban, one of the Mouzin family's lawyers, said.

Fourniret was convicted in 2008 of the murders of seven young women and adolescent girls between 1987 and 2001.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, before being convicted again in 2018 for another murder.