The Strange Letters The Relatives Of The Dupont De Ligonnes Family Received

Agnès Dupont de Ligonnès and her husband, Xavier, seemed like a successful, accomplished family with four bright children and a nice home in the suburbs of Nantes, France. However, their seemingly ordinary life came crashing down in April 2011, when the whole family apparently vanished into thin air. According to Le Parisien, a neighbor, realizing something was amiss when she failed to notice any activity in and around the house for over a week, contacted authorities.

It would take eight more days and six additional visits from the police before they finally discovered what had befallen the Dupont de Ligonnès family. On April 21, 2011, authorities dug up the back garden and found the bodies of the entire family buried under the patio — that is, all except one: the father, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès.

Now the prime suspect in the murders, authorities set to work trying to find Xavier, piecing together clues from his odd behavior in the months before the tragic deaths. They soon found that Xavier had possibly been suffering from financial problems for some time and may have been forced to borrow money to help pay off some of his debts. Just three months prior, he had reportedly also acquired a gun, a .22 long rifle inherited from his father, and soon obtained a gun license and spent the weeks leading up to his disappearance practicing his shooting at a gun range, according to Air Mail.

Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes reportedly told relatives he was working for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Perhaps most notably, in the lead-up to his disappearance, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès also allegedly sent strange letters to nine different family members, per RFI. In them, he purportedly claimed to have been part of a covert mission and explained that he, along with his wife and children, would have to disappear for a while. He supposedly recounted a bizarre tale in which he had been secretly working for the United States' Drug Enforcement Administration. He explained that the family was being taken to the United States to be placed into the Federal Witness Protection program, but, for reasons of secrecy, "the official version is that we have been transferred because of my job, to Australia." The letter also encouraged them to spread this version of events when speaking about the family (via RFI).

Xavier would relay a similar cover story in a typed letter sent to the private school two of his children attending, explaining he would be pulling them out of school due to the imminent transfer to Australia, per Le Parisien.

Xavier Dupont de Ligonne's true whereabouts remains a mystery

Xavier reportedly went on to write his loved ones that, for their own safety, the family would not be able to make contact with anyone from their former life, and the children would be indefinitely barred from using any form of social media. He also seemed to provide an explanation for the disturbance in the garden, noting that there had always been rubble underneath the patio, and they needed to keep away from the area.

Family members were unsure what to make of the letters, with Xavier's mother even raising questions as to their authenticity, pointing to their lack of a signature and the absence of his trademark spelling errors, per RFI. However, others suspect the letters were simply part of a plan devised by Xavier to dispel suspicion that anything nefarious had happened to his family and allow him to escape his crimes without detection.

While his plans to flee completely unnoticed clearly failed, Xavier has been able to evade authorities for the past decade. Despite a massive manhunt and international search warrant, the whereabouts of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès remains unknown to this day.