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Marc Dutroux

Marc Dutroux is one of the most notorious criminals in Belgium. He was arrested in 1996. He is charged with abduction of six girls (Julie Lejeune (8), Mélissa Russo (8), An Marchal (19), Eefje Lambrecks (17), Sabine Dardenne (12) and Laetitia Delhez (14)), in 1995 and 1996, sexually abusing them and causing death to four of them.

Sabine and Laetitia were found alive in his home in Marcinelle[?] near Charleroi (Hainaut) shortly after his arrest; they had been kept imprisoned three months and one week, respectively.

Julie and Mélissa were found dead in the garden of another house of Dutroux, in Sars-la-Buissière[?] (Hainaut). Their death was caused by neglect, they were locked up while Dutroux was in prison earlier, during 4 months from December 1995, and his accomplices failed to feed them.

An and Eefje were found dead in Jumet[?] (Hainaut).

He will be tried for these crimes in 2004; in the meantime he serves sentences for lesser crimes. Among them was an escape from custody in 1998; he was caught a few hours later.

Authorities have been criticized for various errors related to his case, for example:

  • The house in which Julie and Mélissa were kept in a specially constructed secret basement was searched by the police while they were still alive, but the police did not find them. This was due to the fact that the search was on the pretext of being related to theft; therefore no dogs or special equipment for finding the girls could be used.

  • It was considered a blunder that one of the most notorious criminals in Belgium could escape during a transfer; it was felt that he should have been better guarded.

In 2003 Sabine Dardenne gave her first interview to the press (at age 19). She stated that, based on her observations, she thinks that Dutroux acted alone, as opposed to certain speculations that he was part of a criminal network in which even high officials might be involved.

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