Behind the disappearance of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes is a grisly and macabre quintuple murder, which ended up with Xavier disappearing, with his current whereabouts unknown.

This case is disturbing, and has become notorious since the 2011 deaths. Xavier – a member of a prominent aristocrat family – is believed to have been behind the murders of his family, only to then flee to an uncertain fate.

This article reviews this disappearance. At the end of the article, there is a reader’s poll, which we invite you to vote on. This will present the overall opinion of our readers as to what happened to Xavier and his family.

Xavier Dupont De Ligonnés with his wife Agnes


The Dupont de Ligonnès family were made up of two parents and four children. They lived in the city of Nantes, France. They were a highly respected family.

The father Xavier was 50 at the time, and had worked as a businessman. He came from a prestigious family, with his father being a Count. His wife Agnes was 48. Agnes worked at a Catholic School in Nantes.

There were four children. Arthur Dupont de Ligonnès was 20 and attended a private Catholic College. Thomas Dupont de Ligonnès was 18 and studying Musicology. Anne was 16, and attended school whilst modelling. Benoit at 14 was the youngest.

On the outside, the family seemed like the model group. But all of this would come crashing down in April 2011.

The Disappearance

On Monday 11th April 2011, it was first noticed that the Dupont de Ligonnès’ house was closed up. The shutters were completely closed, and a note on the mailbox read “stop leaving mail”.

Family members had not attended school and work for the previous week. Friends of the children had been unable to contact them either, with no response.

Due to how out of character this was for the family, the Police were notified. On Wednesday 13th April, the Police arrived on the scene. After calling a locksmith to get in, they found that nothing in the house looked amiss.

It appeared that the residents of the house had left voluntarily, as some items were gone, family pictures taken down from frames and no sign of any of the family.

Therefore, the Police did not launch an investigation. But the neighbours noticed that a car was missing – which was a four seater. Considering there were six members of the family and two dogs, this didn’t quite add up.

The very next day on Thursday 14th April, friends and relatives received letters purportedly from Xavier and Agnes. In the letters they received, it was explained that Xavier had been recruited by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the United States. The letter said that Xavier had been recruited to help infiltrate an international drug ring.

Due to the nature of the work, the letter said that Xavier and his family would change identity, be under protection, and not be reachable at all. To some, this explained their departure.

However, Agnes’ family were highly concerned, reasoning that suddenly leaving the area without telling anyone isn’t something she would do. The family urged the Police to return.

The Police returned the next day to look again, and made further visits. It took until the sixth visit, and April 21st (over a week after the first report), when the Police made a macabre discovery.

The team dug under the terrace under the garden. There, they discovered large trash bags that were covered in tape. Inside these bags were body parts. In total, five bodies were found, and the lifeless bodies of two dogs too. Everyone but Xavier were found.

A mass murder had seemingly taken place. At first, the Police believed that Xavier was buried elsewhere. But after more digging, it appeared he wasn’t there. Soon enough, Xavier was made the prime suspect in the case.

The Investigation

In the aftermath of the Police making this declaration, an international arrest warrant via Interpol was sent for Xavier.

The deaths caused shock across Nantes. “The House of Terror”, read the front of the newspaper following the murders coming to light.

An enormous investigation was launched. At first, investigators looked to see when the murders had happened. After carrying out autopsies, they discovered that all but one of the dead had been given sleeping pills. This led to the Police believing all five had been asleep when murdered.

Agnes didn’t have any drugs in her system, but she was using a machine for sleep apnoea. Records on the machine showed that it stopped working suddenly on either Sunday 3rd April or Monday 4th April – almost 3 weeks before she was found.

This gave the investigators an idea of when the deaths happened. They concluded that Agnes was the first victim, and that three of the four children were immediately murdered afterwards. Each was killed by a rifle gunshot, with two bullets to the head.

After looking into all of the personal lives of the family, the investigators found that Thomas – the second oldest child, had not been murdered at the same time as others. At the time of the first four murders, Thomas was at University.

But text records show that Xavier messaged Thomas on Tuesday 5th April to tell him that his mother had been in a “bicycle accident” and was “in a coma”. Xavier came home that same day. He is known to have sent a text message to a friend at around midnight. It is believed he was murdered shortly after.

Thomas was in a different bag to the others, which tallied up with him being killed later. It was a desperate shame, and the five slain members were laid to rest after a ceremony at the Catholic church that they often attended.

Meanwhile, the Police then looked to piece together the whereabouts of Xavier. He had been absent for three weeks before a search was launched. The Police searched hotels and restaurants around France.

On April 15th, Xavier’s car was found in a budget hotel in Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the south of France. He had checked-in to the hotel the day before.

The investigators retraced the steps of Xavier after trawling through hours of CCTV. Xavier was spotted by a speed camera driving towards La Rochelle on April 10th. It is therefore assumed that he spent the week following the murders in the house.

Over the next couple of days, Xavier continued moving south. He was spotted in a restaurant and gas station – with CCTV and credit card bills evidencing this. Of course at this time, he wasn’t a wanted man.

Then, Xavier made it to the budget hotel. CCTV images captured Xavier walking across the parking lot whilst carrying a bag. In this bag, a long object is visible – which Police believe was the rifle that was used to kill his family. Xavier walked towards a large area of wilderness, and wasn’t seen again.

After the bodies had been found and Xavier located via CCTV, the Police searched for Xavier in the wilderness area – which included cliffs and mountains. They searched for 2 months, expecting to come across a corpse. However, despite a vast search, Xavier was never found.

The Police were left to question why Xavier would do such a thing. They looked into his past, and found that he had many financial problems. The companies that he had ran and invested in were failing, and the family were running out of money. In fact, on Tuesday 5th April, bailiffs seeking to settle a debt of €20,000 came to the home.

The Police believed that he killed his family before he was going to be exposed as being near-bankrupt. They believed that Xavier carefully planned the murders, and that his actions meant that he had an almost two week head-start on the Police.

After looking into the family’s background, they noted that the lease on the Dupont de Ligonnès’ property had been terminated. Xavier had spoken to Agnes’ employer, telling them that she was ill.

The Police were also able to uncover purchases made in the weeks leading up to the deaths. Receipts showed that Xavier had bought items including a shovel, a large roll of trash bags and some paving slabs – all of which played a role in the deaths.

They also found that Agnes had written online about how Xavier had previously spoken about a group death as a family, and how it wouldn’t be a “catastrophe”.

An eyewitness recalled how Xavier started showing an interest in guns. This started with Xavier’s father Hubert passing away in early 2011. Count Hubert left little money to Xavier – which he may have been relying on to get his family in a healthier financial position.

When Xavier was clearing out his father’s appointment, he retrieved his father’s gun. He received a firearms license in February 2011, and bought a silencer in March 2011 – just weeks before the murders. There is surely just too much evidence to suggest Xavier wasn’t responsible.

As mentioned, the Police conducted a huge search in the wilderness area, with locals and members of the military assisting. But Xavier was nowhere to be seen, and the sighting of him crossing the parking lot on CCTV was the last time he was seen alive.

Later Developments

Over the next few months and years, searches and investigations continued, albeit on a smaller level. There have been hundreds of reported sightings of Xavier in the years since.

A lot of interest was put into monasteries, with the belief that Xavier’s religious background could result in him seeking refuge at a location. But no further leads have emanated from here.

A raid on a monastery in 2018 was carried out, as some worshippers had suggested that Xavier had been there. But it was concluded to have been a case of mistaken identity.

In 2019, another case of mistaken identity happened. A man was arrested at Glasgow Airport in Scotland, with authorities believing that the man was Xavier. He was arrested by the Scottish Police. However, the Police eventually admitted the person they had arrested was not Xavier.

Human bones have been found in the area where Xavier was last seen. Tests have been carried out, but once again, nothing found is linked to Xavier.

Possible sightings have been investigated, but there has never been a trace of Xavier. It is simply unknown what happened to him.

The Dupont de Ligonnès case was profiled on Netflix‘s “Unsolved Mysteries” show in 2020. This led to an increase in interest in the disappearance, and it is a widely-discussed case on the internet.

This disappearance took place in France


There is a vast range of information available in this case. There are three main theories, each of which have compelling points.

We take a look at the evidence for these theories:

Theory One: Xavier killed the family and then himself

This theory uses the belief that Xavier was responsible for the murders. It is known that he was last seen going into the wilderness area.

Xavier surely would have been consumed by guilt. After all, he had killed five innocent people. Worse yet, these were family members. Could someone really live with themselves after doing such a thing?

He was also seen heading off into the wilderness with few possessions, and what seemed to be the rifle. He didn’t look like a man that was about to go on the run.

Instead, Xavier could have killed himself deep into the wilderness by shooting himself. Due to the vast area, it is possible that Xavier wouldn’t be found. This would explain why his body has never been found.

Theory Two: Xavier killed the family and went on the run

This theory also assumes that Xavier carried out the murders. The last time he was seen, he was heading towards the wilderness area.

At this point, Xavier might well have went on the run. It seems that Xavier had meticulously planned the murders. He gave himself a head start, and his careful planning would surely have allowed him to plan for a fresh start.

If he did want to go on the run, he had chosen the perfect location. He wasn’t too far away from mountain paths that could get him to Italy. From there, onward travel would be easy. He could also have taken a boat or cargo ship to another nation.

Moreover, Xavier was a rather “normal” looking person. If he did wish to go on the run, he would find it much easier than many to go undetected, as he could easily blend in with the crowd. He also had strong English and Spanish language skills – which would help him in a new country.

One of Xavier’s companies – called Netsurf Concept LLC – involved an advisor named Gérard Corona, who was found to be helping people to open foreign bank accounts and get anonymous bank cards. It is possible that if Xavier did wish to go on the run, Gérard may have played a role.

Also, if he wanted to take his own life, then he could’ve done so at the house. Some may ask why he would drive for days instead, and take his own life at another area.

Then there is also the question about the vast wilderness search. The Police searched the wilderness area in great detail, and never came across Xavier. Could he really have not been discovered all this time?

Theory Three: A third party carried out the murders and framed Xavier

While there is a vast amount of evidence to suggest Xavier carried out the murders, many have questioned whether or not Xavier was actually responsible.

The Police were puzzled as to how there was no blood in any of the bedrooms – which is where the murders were believed to have taken place. Moreover, no DNA or fingerprints from anyone were found on the bags.

This raises the question – could a third party have carried out the murders and then framed Xavier? Maybe they completed the murders elsewhere, hence the absence of blood. They might have disposed of Xavier’s body in another location.

Furthermore, many friends of Xavier were shocked that he could have been responsible – instead calling him a devoted father that loved his family. Others pointed out how important the lineage of the Dupont de Ligonnès name was for Xavier – meaning he wouldn’t kill those in the line.

Then there was also the suggestion that Xavier’s chronic back pain meant that he wouldn’t of physically been able to carry out the digging under the terrace that was needed to hide the bodies.

Many point to the letters as being a clear sign of premeditation. However, there is no absolute proof that it was Xavier that wrote the letters. He may have been under duress to send them.

Finally, supporters of Xavier have questioned whether or not the bodies found were actually those of the family. They pointed to the quick burial of the bodies and the fact that French prosecutors recommended that relatives shouldn’t view the bodies – as signs that something was amiss.

Due to the overwhelming evidence against Xavier, this theory is not well supported. But it does present an alternative hypothesis.

Reader Vote

After presenting the above theories, we invite you to vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in the poll below.

What Happened to Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès?


It looks like the exact set of events that resulted in the five deaths and eventual disappearance of members of the Dupont de Ligonnès family will never truly be known.

It is a tragedy that so many promising lives were ruined. Xavier appears to be the guilty party, though it looks as if he will not be brought to justice. For now, we don’t know if he is still alive.

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in:21st Century