Investigators said they had found evidence linking Dennis Plant, 32, to the crime, The Daily Telegraph reported. The body of Joudia Zimmat, 33, a mother of three, was found Thursday in underbrush on the outskirts of Nimes, near the house where Plant and his mother live.
"She had been cut and beaten with rocks," an officer said. "Her throat had been slit and her face was unrecognizable. She had been slaughtered."
A cadaver-sniffing dog located the body after her husband reported her missing when she failed to return from a run, police said. Zimmat was violently attacked, and a bloody knife and two stones were found near the body.
Plant was being questioned, police said.
"He doesn't deny everything but he doesn't admit everything," said Gilles Soulie, head of the judicial police service, said. "We hope he will progress."
A waitress at La Tosca, a bar in Nimes, said Plant had scratches on his face and hands Friday. He told her he was injured while walking his dog through thorny underbrush.
Plant's father was a British Telecom executive who moved to Paris after joining a French company as an executive. He and his wife retired to a large house in Nimes where their son joined them after being unable to find work several years ago, the Telegraph said. The father died of cancer six months ago.