Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux is a ‘pure psychopath’ who terrorized an entire country, podcast reveals
Tenderfoot TV and iHeartMedia's true-crime podcast 'Le Monstre' explores how the notorious killer's case provoked outrage towards law enforcement
Matt Graves suspects that there may be more unidentified victims out there who were killed by one of Europe’s most heinous murderers.
His podcast titled "Le Monstre," from Tenderfoot TV and iHeartMedia, details the story of Belgium serial killer, pedophile and kidnapper Marc Dutroux, whose case horrified a country and led to widespread changes in police procedures.
The 65-year-old is serving a life sentence life for the kidnapping, rape and murder of several girls and young women in the 1990s.
"One of the families is looking closely at trying to reopen an aspect of the case," Graves told Fox News Digital. "And there are two reasons for it. One, of course, is to try and find people who might be involved. But the other reason is to try and find potentially other victims. Several young women and girls disappeared at the same time in this region of the world. I think a deeper DNA analysis of the evidence collected in that dungeon… and lots of things that were not fully identified, could potentially yield results in finding other victims."
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Graves is a Texas native who moved to Belgium in 1995. It was around this time that he first learn of "Le Monstre."
"Imagine if one case in the United States resulted in basically closing down the FBI, getting rid of the FBI – that’s how big it was," he explained. "It also led to the largest protest in the history of this country. The people went out to the streets. It was close to a revolution. We’re talking about an escape from prison. We’re talking about witnesses who died under mysterious circumstances. We’re talking about accusations of corruption at the highest level of government… I remember every single bit of it because it’s the biggest, most publicized crime in the history of Belgium."
"If this were a Hollywood script, you wouldn’t believe it – but it happened," Graves shared. "We’re talking about a pure psychopath."
Dutroux, an unemployed electrician, had a lengthy record as a juvenile delinquent. In 1989, he was convicted of five sexual assaults and sentenced to 13 years in prison. However, he was released after three years. In 1995 and 1996, he abducted and raped two teenage girls, An Marchal and Eefje Lambreck, aged 16 and 17. He then buried them alive. Two other girls, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, both 8 years old, died of starvation in the cell where he had abused them in his home, The New York Times reported.
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According to the outlet, Dutroux instructed his wife, Michelle Martin, to feed the 8-year-old girls while he was serving a three-month sentence for an unrelated car theft. However, she did not, arguing in court that she was too afraid to look into the cell.
When Dutroux was released in 1996, he kidnapped two more girls, Sabine Dardenne and Laetitia Delhez, aged 12 and 14. The outlet noted they were rescued after being found in the dungeon under the terrace of his home.
"Within 24 hours of his arrest, you had these two disheveled girls that were led out of a secret basement underneath his house on television," Graves recalled. "This one girl, Sabine, was so emaciated. She had been there for 81 days in this cellar… It was a surreal scene. Everyone had been looking for these girls and all of a sudden, they were being led out of this house by police. He had them hidden away the whole time. People were outraged. And then you had more discoveries."
The police were publicly denounced for failing to pursue leads in the investigation provided by various individuals. Police visited Dutroux’s home twice in the ‘90s and did not find the kidnapped girls who were downstairs. They also ignored a letter from Dutroux’s mother that expressed concern her son was abusing young girls.
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Dutroux was jailed in 1996. In 1998, Dutroux grabbed a policeman’s gun and briefly escaped. He was recaptured in a muddy field just three hours after running out of a provincial courthouse and hijacking a car. That prompted the resignation of the Belgium justice and interior ministers, as well as the chief of the state police. While Dutroux alleged he was part of a pedophile ring involving well-connected figures, prosecutors said they found no evidence to support his claim. He was sentenced in 2004.
Graves stressed that Dutroux is a "pure psychopath."
"There are scientists who wanted to interview and study him," said Graves. "They concluded, based on everything they’ve studied, that he was almost 100 percent a pure psychopath. That’s how I would define him – an absolute psychopath. He never tells the truth. And that’s one of the big problems here. The parents of the victims still don’t really know the truth, and you can’t trust anything he says. It’s a particularly difficult situation for the parents still today."
For the podcast, Graves spoke to former officers involved with the case, as well as family members, judicial authorities, journalists and other investigators.
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"I was able to explore questions that are still being examined," he said. "And these family members just want the truth. The victims were innocent people from good working-class families who do their work, pay their taxes and love their children dearly. And these lovely children were just ripped away from them. These were just really nice kids with normal lives. It’s a painful story to tell."
Graves said many are still frustrated as to why it took so long for Dutroux to finally be captured. Theories have lingered over the years.
"These parents fought so hard," he said. "They were the ones who said, ‘We have to keep looking.’ And they wouldn’t stop. Meanwhile, this was right under the noses of the police."
Martin, a former elementary school teacher, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. However, she was released on parole in 2012, causing thousands of Belgians to protest. She now lives in a convent.
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In 2015, Dutroux was denied conditional release from jail, which would have allowed him to walk the streets with an electronic ankle bracelet. He tried to convince a court that he would be no risk to the public if he was released with electronic monitoring. Prison officials, prosecutors and Dutroux’s mother opposed his release, as well as relatives of his victims.
Graves hopes that his podcast could lead to discoveries for families still seeking answers.
"This is a horrific tragedy," he said. "And ultimately, this is a sad story."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.