Justine Vayrac: how does the scientific police investigate these cases of disappearance?

Justine Vayrac, 20, disappeared in Brive-la-Gaillarde overnight from Saturday to Sunday. While a suspect has been taken into custody as part of an open investigation for kidnapping and kidnapping, investigators and experts are working to collect evidence. Forensic scientists explained their work in these circumstances this Wednesday at BFMTV.

Research is progressing in the case Justine Vayrac. An investigation has been opened for kidnapping and forcible confinement after the disappearance of the 20-year-old young woman on the night of Saturday to Sunday following a club trip to Brive-la-Gaillarde with some friends. The proceedings resulted in the arrest of a suspect – the last man seen with this mother of a two-year-old boy – and his custody.

Since then, the beatings, combing and searches carried out at the home of the arrested person have made it possible to establish the presence of blood in his room and the passenger compartment of his vehicle, and to discover the handbag of the missing woman in the immediate vicinity of this agricultural exploitation.

So many elements revealed this Wednesday afternoon by the public prosecutor of Brive-la-Gaillarde, Emilie Abrantes, and collected by the investigators. It is now up to the scientific police to operate in order to make the clues speak. Some of their experts intervened this Wednesday on our antenna to describe their work and its progress in files of this nature.

From Lyon, Pierre Pascaud, commissioner and spokesperson for the scientific police, set the priority in front of our cameras: “In this type of case, the first thing to do is to take an interest in video surveillance outside , or on the side of the night establishment or in other places allowing us to determine the path of the missing person.”

Verifications that involve heavy logistics. “We need very powerful tools to recover terabytes and terabytes of data. Then our central digital forensics lab may be able to analyze them. These analyzes will take a long time because there are hours of viewing to be carried out”, conceded the commissioner.

“But we have algorithms, artificial intelligence in support of experts to help us go very quickly in sorting these images,” he added.

Once these videos and images have been uploaded, the experts can move on to the second stage of their work. “There are all the findings on scenes that may be of interest to the investigation, that is to say the suspect’s home, perhaps his vehicle”, pointed out Pierre Pascaud.

Ok, but how do you find your way around in a place that is inevitably marked by a large crowd, such as the parking lot of a nightclub in the case of the disappearance of Justine Vayrac? Here, forensic scientists can rely on their colleagues:

“The investigators will contextualize. We will identify the most convincing elements possible, material to corroborate the hypotheses of the investigators who will have discriminated the places of interest from the less interesting places”, continued the spokesperson for the scientific police.

If these places are interesting, it is primarily because they are likely to reveal potentially rich repositories of messages. “We are going to look for traces of blood on which we are going to carry out DNA analyses. We are going to carry out morphoanalyses to find out why these projections took place at this place, what happened”, highlighted Pierre Pascaud .

After blood, it is the papillary traces – i.e. fingerprints – which constitute the other axis of research for scientists, as once again posed by the commissioner: “With a powder and the small brush that you can see in the series, we can show the fingerprints, then feed our automated fingerprint file and make comparisons with our database. It will be a question later of trying to allot these papillary prints to a suspect.

In order to complete this picture and show that his colleagues neglected nothing when it came to accumulating material capable of helping the investigators, he slipped again: “We are returning to the scene to carry out biological research with readings swabs, find DNA. We rub on specific places and it comes to a laboratory for the establishment of the genetic profile.

His colleague Guillaume Groult, deputy national secretary of the scientific police union, described on our set the methodology used, in particular to identify possible remains exhumed in a car: “We have methods of analysis in situ to see if certain traces are not usual traces but rather, for example, traces of blood. Afterwards, we also have dismantling methods: we will look in areas that are more difficult to access and therefore to clean, for interstices.”

It is then a race against the clock that begins. “During police custody, they will try to find out if the traces of blood discovered belong to this young woman”, underlined Jacques Morel, general of the gendarmerie and former boss of the research section of Versailles, in our studios, developing “They will try to quickly collect the missing person’s blood group, DNA in the family, so that they will be ready when they have the test results.”

Fortunately, it is possible to speed up these examinations. “We know that every hour counts”, first observed Guillaume Groult, acknowledging that “the work of analysis has incompressible deadlines”. “That being so”, he added, “we still have provisions to respond to these emergency situations, therefore emergency procedures”. Result, he assured: “In less than 24 hours on a very individualized trace like blood, we will be able to draw a profile, making the maximum effort.” “We can’t say who he is but we can compare him,” continued Guillaume Groult.

Prolonged, the police custody of the man suspected in the investigation into the disappearance of Justine Vayrac must end Thursday morning. According to the public prosecutor of Brive-la-Gaillarde, we will attend the opening of a judicial investigation supported by the judicial center of Limoges.

Robin Verner BFMTV journalist

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Justine Vayrac: how does the scientific police investigate these cases of disappearance?


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