French police release sketch in year-old Alps shooting case

Nov. 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM
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CHEVALINE, France, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- French police have released a sketch of a motorcyclist wanted for questioning in relation to a quadruple homicide in the French Alps last year.

The person of interest was wearing a rare dark-colored helmet that opens from the side to allow for conversations without the rider having to remove the helmet, witnesses told police. Though investigators have tracked the helmet's maker and determined only 8,000 of them were sold, they've hit a dead end and are now hoping the public will respond to a composite sketch, the BBC reported Monday.

The case began when a British family of Iraqi origin on vacation in the French Alps was driving on a remote stretch of highway near Chevaline. Saad al-Hilli, his wife, Iqbal, and her mother, Suhaila al-Allaf, were shot Sept. 6, 2012, along with cyclist Sylvain Mollier. The couple's two young daughters survived the attack, one by hiding beneath her dead mother's dress.

The artist's rendering shows a man with a goatee wearing the rare helmet. Witnesses said the motorcyclist was in the area in the 25 minutes surrounding the shootings. They're also looking for the driver of a right-hand-drive BMW 4X4 that was spotted in the area.

Police said they held off on releasing the sketch this long for fear the motorcyclist would go into hiding.

Police arrested al-Hilli's brother, Zaid, in June. He has maintained his innocence though he admitted he'd had a falling out with his brother over an inheritance dispute.

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Topics: French Alps
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