By Henry Samuel
France has been gripped by the underwater discovery of a human skull inscribed with a target and the words “death to pedophiles” off a stretch of the Riviera coast.
First spotted by a sea urchin diver near a coastal path off Cap d’Antibes in February, the skull and three other bones were found after a series of dives. They have been identified as belonging to two women and two men.
An inquiry into “murder, sequestration, abduction and hiding corpses” was opened this week. Georges Gutierrez, the prosecutor in Grasse, said the inquiry would try to determine if “these people were deliberately killed.” He said the bones were in the water “for some time.”
DNA tests showed that a humerus, or upper arm bone, belonged to Stephane Hirson, 17, from Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, who vanished 20 years ago.
But so far, police have not been able to identify to whom the other bones belonged. In particular, they cannot explain to whom the skull belonged and why the inscriptions in permanent marker were made. The skull is thought to belong to a 50-year-old man. Attempts to link the skull to a known pedophile were unsuccessful.