- The third episode of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries reboot is called “House of Terror,” and looks at Count Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, who’s suspected of killing his entire family.
- When the bodies of his wife, four children, and two dogs were found underneath the terrace of his house, Dupont de Ligonnès was nowhere to be found—and has never been tracked down.
- There have been a few potential leads through the years, but nothing has ever materialized into actually tracking him down.
Perhaps the darkest case in Volume 1 of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries reboot comes in the series’ third episode, titled “House of Terror.” The episode opens describing the life of the Dupont de Ligonnès family, with patriarch Count Xavier coming together with wife Agnes, children Arthur, Thomas, Anne, and Benoit, and two dogs to make what sounded like a perfect family—from the outside. The case quickly gets grim, though, as bizarre circumstances led to the police visiting the family’s unattended house multiple times, and on their sixth visit discovering the bodies of Agnes, Arthur, Thomas, Anne, Benoit, and the two dogs underneath the house’s terrace. This all took place in 2011.
In the years since, Dupont de Ligonnès has emerged as the chief suspect in the case. The episode discusses why he’s believed to have committed the murders (he was ruined financially, and chose this option rather than confronting his family about it), what he did tangentially (sent rambling messages about how he was moving to the United States for witness protection, and telling the kids’ schools that they were being moved to Australia), and how he actually did it—he inherited a rifle from his late father and also purchased a silencer (explaining why neighbors didn’t hear gunshots when the murders were supposedly being committed).
A major part of the episode points out a strange occurrence: in the days after the murders were committed, Dupont de Ligonnès wasn’t hiding. His credit card activity, hotel stays, ATM withdrawals, was all traceable, and he was caught on several security cameras. The last footage of him, though, is in Roquebrune-sur-Argens, where he was seen arriving at a small hotel, grabbing a bag, and walking into a densely-wooded area. Police believed at first that he was planning to commit suicide, but as no body was ever discovered, an international warrant went out for his arrest that May.
Where is Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès now?
To put it simply: no one really knows. Dupont de Ligonnès has remained an infamous figure in international news, though, and over the past half decade there have been a handful of cases that seemed like they could’ve been leads, but turned out to be false alarms.
A few leads on Dupont de Ligonnès emerged in the years since his disappearance. In 2015, a note was sent to the French press that said (translated) “I am still alive,” and was signed Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès. The note included a photo of two of his children—Arthur and Benoit—sitting at a kitchen table. That note was later handed over to the police, where they requested handwriting analysis, DNA testing, and fingerprint testing. However, granted that this is now five years ago and no headway has been made, it seems reasonably safe to say that this didn’t exactly crack the case open—just another tease for the pile.
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Another lead came in 2018, when Police believed that Dupont de Ligonnès had been seen at a monastery in Roquebrune-sur-Argens (where he had last been seen) after worshippers claimed that they had recognized him there. Police raided the monastery, and at first had trouble making any headway as many of the monks were not talking due to having taken a vow of silence. Eventually, though, it was determined that the monk in question was simply a lookalike and this was a case of mistaken identity.
In 2019, a man believed to be Dupont de Ligonnès was arrested in the Glasgow Airport in Scotland; the belief was because of paperwork that made the man’s passport correspond with a stolen one, that this was who they were looking for. Police Scotland intercepted the man (because the French police wasn’t able to get therein time), arresting and fingerprinting him. They handed him over to the French, calling them up with a specific message: “This is your man.”
In seeing images on CCTV, though the French had doubts, and DNA testing eventually proved that the person arrested was in fact a Portuguese-born French man who was visiting his wife in Scotland. The man had had his passport stolen in 2014, but had since had his own legally and properly replaced. He was released without any charge, and the hunt for Dupont de Ligonnès continued.
In the time since his alleged henious crimes, Dupont de Ligonnès has somehow managed to disappear without a trace. If that 2015 note is accurate and he’s indeed still out there, perhaps Netflix’s massive platform, and a whole new audience of Unsolved Mysteries watchers will be able to track him down and bring him to justice.
Evan is an associate editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE.
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