Did Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes kill his family? Unsolved Mysteries case explained

Unsolved Mysteries key art. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Netflix.)
Unsolved Mysteries key art. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Netflix.) /

If you love true crime, chances are that you’ve started watching Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix. The docuseries is a whirlwind of baffling mysteries, with every episode delving into a crime or event that’s never been solved. Each story brings a unique set of unanswered questions to the table, leaving viewers in awe of just how strange life can be. One particularly gruesome episode, aptly named “House of Terror,” chronicles the disappearances and murders of the Dupont de Ligonnès family in Nantes, France, believed to be by Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès.

The Dupont de Ligonnès Family

Patriarch Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès was descended from the aristocrats of Versailles and was often described as a good communicator with good humor. Xavier was said to be a successful businessman with vague ties, but it was later discovered that he greatly exaggerated his wealth and influence. His wife, Agnès, was an affable Catholic schoolteacher. Agnès was 48 years old at the time of her death.

The couple had four children. The oldest, Arthur, was not Xavier’s biological son but was recognized by Xavier as being his son when he married Agnès. He was 20 years old at the time of his death. Next is Thomas, a shy young man with a passion for music. He was 18 years old at the time of his death.

Anne was the couple’s only daughter. A beautiful young woman, Anne modeled for mail-order catalogs and excelled in school. She was 16 years old at the time of her death. The youngest son, Benoît, was an avid drum player. He was 13 years old at the time of his death.

The Dupont de Ligonnès Murders

In April 2011, neighbors noticed that things were not quite right at the Dupont de Ligonnès residence. A message on their front door read, “Please return all correspondence to sender. Thank you.” The children stopped appearing at school on April 4.

Then, an unsigned letter dated April 11, 2011, supposedly from Xavier, was received by his close relatives. It explained that the entire family had to be taken into the protective custody of the U.S. Government because of Xavier’s involvement in a DEA investigation. By April 13, no one had seen Agnès or her children in days and concerned neighbors contacted the police.

After visiting the house six times, finding nothing out the ordinary, police discovered the remains of Agnès and the four children under the terrace in the back garden of the house. The family’s two dogs were also found dead in the grave. Each of the deceased had been drugged and then shot dead with a .22 Long Rifle as they slept. The bodies were then individually wrapped in blankets and buried in plastic bags alongside a small religious icon.

Xavier was nowhere to be found, and it is assumed that he did kill his family, although he never made a confession.

Once police began their investigation, law enforcement officers learned that Xavier had obtained his firearms license and purchased bullets, cement, four bags of lime, a shovel, and a hoe shortly before his wife and children were killed.

Where is Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès?

This is the million-dollar question. Leaving a trail of bodies in his wake, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès has not been seen or heard from since April 14, 2011. Investigators believe that he may have fled France to live in hiding or committed suicide in the wake of such a wretched act. After the show hit Netflix, however, reports started coming out that he had been “spotted.”

While speaking to Variety just earlier this month, the show’s executive producer Terry Dunn Meurer revealed that they got “the most interesting tip” about Xavier, explaining:

“Somebody was actually in Chicago, I think they were on Lake Shore Drive, and they heard this guy talking French and they looked at him and they had just seen the episode. They sent us a photo, and it really did look like Xavier. It was striking. So we sent that tip on.”

However, Meurer was quick to clarify that “Xavier looks so much like so many other people,” so it’s very difficult to be sure.

By far the most spine-chilling episode of Unsolved Mysteries, the horrifying tale of the Dupont de Ligonnès family is sure to haunt you long after the credits roll.

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