Case of Maëly: return to a year of complex and winding research

MAËLYS AFFAIR – A year ago, from day to day, the little Maëlys disappeared from a wedding party organized at Pont-de-Beauvoisin, in the Isère. Since then his killer has been identified. But Nordahl Lelandais continues to plead an involuntary death, caused by a simple blow. Autopsies contradict him. Back on a complex survey.

A year later, Pont-de-Beauvoisin still remembers. At the request of the parents Maëlys, who disappeared on the night of 26 to 27 August 2017, the small town of Isere will honor the memory of the girl during a white march on Monday. To the astonishment of the first days, with family members and residents, it eventually succeeded in cold anger.

Anger directed against a man who has denied so long that he was the cause of the disappearance, then the death of little Maëlys, not yet 9 years old in the relevant time. For Nordahl, Lelandais took more than six months to bring the researchers to the body of the girl. Return to a year of research, as detailed as it is dense and complicated.

It must have been a night of joy and celebration, it was ultimately the horror and fear of paroxysm. On 27 August, around 3 o'clock, Maëlys was seen for the last time at a wedding where her parents had taken her to the town hall. Once his disappearance has been noticed, searches go on all night without interruption, in vain. The police are being warned. This is the beginning of the nightmare for the little girl's family.

Especially because it is necessary to wait until August 31 for a first custody to be effective. Nordahl Lelandais is currently already in the viewfinder of the researchers, who receive very few elements. Of this 34-year-old man is known that he was several times away from the party, for which he was not formally invited. That he was seen in consultation with Maëlys and that he cleaned his car very carefully the next day. But nothing is decisive under these details. So he was released, along with one of his friends who also had auditions from the detectives. Outside, life goes on, and so are the searches. Several fights are organized in the neighborhood, along with hundreds of people.

The vise nevertheless arrives in the month of September. A trace of DNA can be found on a button on the dashboard of the Audi A 3 Nordahl Lelandais. But it is still no evidence of murder. Above all, the lawyer of the thirties offers a statement: the little girl would indeed have entered the vehicle together with another boy to keep a dog in the trunk. Difficult to explain the disappearance of a so-called branded lack of wine, which Nordahl Lelandais had freed from the night of disappearance, the discovery of a second never-before-mentioned phone, as well as the scratches on the suspect's arms and knees. He explains them through the maintenance of raspberries in the garden of his parents. His mother contradicts him: his son never keeps gardening. So many elements that are closed on Nordahl Lelandais, caught in a cloth with instructions: early September 2017 he is charged with kidnapping and placed in pre-trial detention.

Finally, Jennifer Clayet-Marrel and Joachim de Araujo, parents of Maëlys, speak for the first time for the press. They beg the main suspect to say "what he knows". Two long months follow each other without the truth being reflected on the affair that confuses the whole of France. Finally, November 30, the Grenoble Prosecutor confirms the information already published on the news channels: a white shape on the passenger seat of Nordahl Lelandais's car. The image is captured by cameras for video surveillance. A few weeks later Maëlys' mother is formal: she recognizes in this almost ghostly appearance the details of the dress that her daughter wore that evening.

February 2018: a sudden turn

The end of 2017 marks a turning point in the Lelandais affair … which is no longer just the case of Maëlys. Because here the man was charged with murder in a second case, that of the disappearance of Corporal Arthur Noyer, a few months earlier. The accusations are overwhelming: the suspect's telephone would be tied in the same places and at the same time as the victim's, coupled with the exit of a nightclub. Then discover the profile of a man with multiple alleged crimes. He confessed that he would kill the corporal a few months later.

In the meantime, the long-awaited conversion of the events takes place in the 2018 issue of Maëlys. After intensive research, the scientific experts get a decisive element: a small trace of blood from Maëlys is located under the carpet trunk of Nordahl Lelandais car. Accused, he can only confess. And lead the researchers to the body of the little girl, buried in the natural park of Chartreuse. He says he was "accidentally" killed by a blow. A version contradicted by the results of the autopsy that report multiple fractures on the girl's skull and a jaw also broken.

Investigations are continuing today. Meanwhile, the man from Savoy is sued for the third time, this time in a case of sexual assault on a minor of fifteen – in this case his nephew, who appears in a pedopornographic video shot by Lelandais. In his many requests for release, the judges have always resisted firm refusals. In mid-August, his pre-trial detention was extended for another six months.

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