Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil (2023) s01e01 Episode Script

The Monster's Wife

[pop song in French
playing on car speakers]
[reporter speaking French]
[interpreter, in English] It's a painful
case and a difficult wait for one family.
The disappearance of Isabelle Laville,
aged 17, near Auxerre,
remains unexplained.
Isabelle Laville was last seen wearing
a long, dark blue coat,
jeans, and white boots.
She has long, light brown hair.
[woman speaking French]
[interpreter, in English]
On December 11th, 1987,
my husband and I pulled out the sofa bed
and left the outside light on all night.
We couldn't sleep.
[French dialogue continues]
[interpreter] We went to check
the door whenever we heard a noise.
And it was so cold that night.
The coldest it's been in a while.
My daughter didn't come home.
She disappeared off the face of the Earth.
Without a trace.
It really was a huge shock.
That morning, she was there.
In the evening, she was gone.
They murdered our daughters.
Our children.
There was the serial killer
and his girlfriend.
Without her, he wouldn't have
been able to do what he did.
I blame her for everything.
It was that vile woman
who brought children into the world
but didn't respect
other people's children.
[interpreter] Michel Fourniret,
the French forest ranger,
had been charged in Belgium
for abducting minors and indecent assault.
His wife has accused him of murdering
nine children and young girls.
With at least ten murders,
usually involving rape,
experts say he is
the most prolific serial killer in France.
Whatever may have happened to Estelle,
you have to give her back to us.
[woman] The murders by the Ogre of the
Ardennes and his wife shocked Europe.
The remains of a teenage girl
who disappeared ten months ago
have been found in Belgium.
[man] The Fournirets are said
to have raped and killed young girls
in France and Belgium
in an extremely sadistic manner.
[woman] Michel Fourniret's wife
presents as a submissive wife
who is scared of her husband,
so has not spoken up until now.
[man] She's a housewife
who helps to rape, kill and abduct.
But, in the end, she is a housewife.
[waves rushing]
[gulls calling]
[wind whistling]
[speaking French]
[interpreter, in English]
In my career spanning 41 years,
I've had some notable cases of rapists,
serial pedophiles
and absolutely horrific murders,
but the Fourniret-Olivier
case goes far beyond all of those.
Mentally and morally,
no one came out unscathed.
That's for sure.
We've dealt with a few serial killers
by themselves.
But he wasn't alone.
He was with Monique Olivier.
In January 2003, I was appointed
prosecutor in Charleville-Mézières.
I remember the first time
I heard about Michel.
The commander
of the Reims regional crime squad
called me and said, "The Belgians
have just arrested Michel Fourniret
following an attempted abduction."
What struck us immediately
was the statement
from the little girl
who had been kidnapped.
JUNE 2003
[girl] There was a man
who asked me the way.
And I showed him.
[Nachbar] And the girl said,
"I got in the vehicle to be helpful."
"Then his demeanor completely changed.
His eyes glazed over."
I've seen this myself several times.
"He became extremely frightening."
"He asked me if I was a virgin. He told me
he was going to take my virginity."
"When I asked him
if he was going to kill me,
he said no, with a smile up to his ears."
A smile that meant the exact opposite.
"I was terrified,
I knew I was going to die."
[girl] She tied my hands to my feet
and my whole body in the back of the van.
[Nachbar] He put her in the back
of his van, and started the engine.
[girl] I really started to panic.
And I started to pray.
[Nachbar] Luckily, she had extraordinary
presence of mind and composure.
She managed to untie herself.
When his van stopped at a light,
she took the opportunity to escape.
From there, in a complete state of panic
and terror, she stopped a driver
and told him what had happened to her.
He told the girl, "He might make a U-turn,
so we might run into him."
They did, in fact, pass Fourniret's van.
The driver took down
the registration number
and stopped at the nearest police station
to tell them everything.
And Fourniret was arrested.
26 JUNE 2003
[siren wailing]
[man] It is very rare to catch
a suspected pedophile in the act.
This French forest ranger from Sedan
has been arrested in Belgium.
[woman] Michel Fourniret,
aged 62, an unassuming-looking man.
His latest abduction attempt
was unsuccessful.
It wasn't the law that stopped him.
It was Marie Ascension.
So, the only person who was able
to be stronger than him was a little girl.
Not a police officer,
nor a judge, or an expert.
[man] Sart-Custinne, a remote village
with 150 inhabitants and two streets.
This is where Michel Fourniret lived.
[woman] Today, excavations began
in a house in the Belgian Ardennes.
Belgian authorities
have charged Michel Fourniret
with abducting minors
and indecent assault.
We first searched his house
the day after his arrest, June 27th, 2003.
Obviously, we still had in mind
what had happened in Belgium
with the investigation into Marc Dutroux,
which had shaken
the public opinion a few years earlier.
There was obviously pressure
from the public and from the media.
We used a lot of resources, like
a geo-radar in the garden and excavators.
Any means that would, quote unquote,
"guarantee" we wouldn't miss anything.
[crows cawing]
The Ardennes is a region
that is shared with France.
It's an area that has a culture
of discretion and reticence.
[church bell ringing]
Colleagues sometimes refer to it
as a "code of silence."
We don't pry, we don't get involved
in other people's business.
If we hear of something,
we might not mention it.
Neighbors described the Fourniret couple
as sad people who don't enjoy life.
People who lived quite
discreetly in the village.
They came about ten years
ago to buy this house.
And at first, it was fine. But after
a time, he disappeared out of sight.
He always worked at home, we thought.
Nothing else.
He was aggressive with the neighbors.
He was really odd. He would kill cats
because he didn't like them
going into his garden.
He buried them on his property.
Mr. and Mrs. Fourniret were more like
friends. They weren't a normal couple.
[man] Did they ever confide
anything private to you?
Private? Well, yes.
That, um, apparently, Michel
no longer found her that attractive.
Just that.
She wasn't
a very expressive woman.
She didn't smile or talk very much.
But she was nice and gentle.
While we were there, Monique Olivier
arrived, Michel Fourniret's wife.
A woman
without any notable physical features.
She looked like a witch,
but maybe that's a bit excessive.
But she had long black hair,
and her face was quite apathetic.
She hadn't been informed about
Fourniret's arrest the night before.
But his overnight absence
didn't surprise her. It happened.
[man] She said,
"He leads the life he wants."
So he came and went as he pleased.
He would be away for several days.
That's what he was like,
and she had no say.
She was a submissive, fearful woman,
who didn't look up from her feet.
She seemed like
the local poor, unfortunate wife.
She was pretty much isolated at home.
[flies buzzing]
Their house was quite untidy.
It was a mess.
What we found interesting to help us
do our job were the cell phones.
And also documents in which we hoped to
find information that we could use later.
The search of Fourniret's home
was very revealing,
because we found handcuffs in the cellar.
And children's clothing.
[camera shutter clicking]
We found masks
for putting people to sleep,
pistols, and handguns.
We found ropes, Scotch tape,
gags, ski masks.
We found a whole array of things
that could be used by a burglar,
or by someone else.
But very troubling things.
Inhaler masks, things like that.
Ether bulbs. So, yes, well
Monique Olivier didn't know anything.
She hadn't seen anything.
We really got the impression
that we were dealing with a real pushover.
The submissive wife
who asked no questions.
[Verlaine] But you got the sense she could
bring something to the investigation.
She undoubtedly had things to say.
Because at that time, we thought
we were dealing with a serious criminal,
someone who had committed
other similar crimes.
[woman] The investigators
are focused on this character,
who they say
is an extremely dangerous pervert.
No doubt, investigators in Dinant
are, naturally, very worried.
They want to check everything.
And above all,
they don't want any victims left behind.
We couldn't overlook any unsolved cases
he might have been involved in.
We had the very strong sense
that he could be a serial pedophile.
And perhaps more than a pedophile,
a child murderer.
I thought, "There are other victims."
My name is Daniel Bourgard.
I'm a chief of police
from the Reims regional crime squad.
On May 17, 2000,
I got a phone call from a police officer
who said that his niece from Charleville,
Céline Saison, had disappeared.
He said, "Listen, I think that the police
station thinks she's run away."
"I know my niece, I know the context,
and there is no way she's run away."
"This is a worrying disappearance.
Try to look into it."
We worked on that basis. We looked
into it but it didn't lead to anything.
Until July 22nd, when a body was found
in Belgium, just across the border.
The body belonged to Céline Saison.
And a year later, May 5th, 2001,
a second girl disappeared in Sedan.
5 MAY 2001
[man] It is a month to the day
since Mananya disappeared.
The 13-year-old girl was last seen
leaving the media library in Sedan.
They believed her to be a runaway.
Her mother waited for news,
holding onto the belief
that her daughter remains alive.
[man] Mananya was a 12-year-old girl,
full of laughter and joy.
Her nickname was "Eyes".
Her mom said when she was born,
"All you could see was her eyes."
So that's how she got her nickname.
I think she was the child
that all parents dream of having.
I didn't know her for very long, but
The little I knew
of the girl was wonderful.
On May 5th, 2001, I left with her mom
at around 2:30, three in the afternoon
to get groceries
from a supermarket in Charleville.
Mananya went to the media library.
We got home from the store
and she wasn't there.
She was supposed to get home at five.
At 5:30, she still wasn't back.
Her mother sensed what was going on.
She went out immediately,
with a photo, and showed it,
asking, "Have you seen this girl?"
It was unthinkable that
she would have run away.
[dogs barking]
[man] In the Ardennes, the search
for Mananya Thumpong continues
with additional resources.
a helicopter flew over the area.
There have also been searches in Belgium.
The teenager disappeared near Sedan
almost two weeks ago.
MAY 2001 - MARCH 2002
The remains of a teenage girl
who disappeared ten months ago in Sedan
in the north-east of France
have reportedly been found in Belgium.
A walker came across a skull
and personal effects in the woods.
The girl's mother was able
to formally identify them.
My wife broke down.
She broke down.
I tried to hold it together, but it's
not easy.
It's not easy in those situations.
We both broke down.
We stayed like that
for almost two hours alone.
We didn't want to talk to anyone, we
we locked ourselves away.
That was it.
[woman] Mananya's mother believed
her daughter was still alive.
For her, this is the end of the wait,
and of hope.
At a press conference, she was overcome
by emotion
and let her partner speak for her.
[reporters asking questions]
Ten months of hell
wondering where she was,
what she was doing, who she was with.
Was she being held somewhere?
What she being beaten, or worse?
Ten months of hell, you know.
It's a long time.
Now, another hell begins,
with a question that haunts us.
Who could have committed such an atrocity?
[man] The Ardennes
is in a state of uncertainty
following the death or disappearance
of three young girls.
For now, nothing connects the cases,
but local residents fear
they are dealing with a serial killer.
There was, perhaps not hysteria,
but there was this uneasy feeling,
a fear that someone was on the loose
who might abduct a child.
Of course, we made a connection
between the two cases.
It was clear we'd work
on the assumption
this was a madman
interested in young girls.
But we had nothing to go on.
The concept of serial killers
is a complex issue in France.
You have to understand
that in the early 2000s,
it hadn't yet entered
the police's sphere of consciousness.
[Bourgard] We were completely in the dark.
We weren't sure
what circumstances had led to her death.
We couldn't say for sure
if there was sexual violence.
At the time, there was no CCTV,
no cell phones, no GPS.
So investigators
were searching in all directions
because they were in the dark.
[Bourgard] For two and a half years,
we struggled,
because we had no vehicle,
no inkling of a suspect or a name.
We had nothing.
[Chemla] When Michel Fourniret
was arrested,
the connection between Mananya
and Céline was obvious.
[Bourgard] The events took place
in the same area.
It has to be noted, we had the abduction
of Céline Saison in Charleville-Mézières
and Mananya Thumpong in Sedan.
Their bodies were found 10-15 kilometers
north of Sedan.
The Fournirets' home was to the north.
20 kilometers south
was the abduction of Marie Ascension.
So everything happened
within a narrow area.
They were all roughly
within a 20-by 40-kilometer strip.
At the time, it was clear,
without being 100% absolute,
frankly we favored this Fourniret theory.
And at that time,
I thought we had found
the perpetrator of these two abductions.
[echoing male voices]
JULY 2003
[keys jangling]
What very quickly became
a certainty for the police
was that Fourniret wasn't just anyone.
He was someone who was extremely
closed off, manipulative, and cunning.
Despite everything
that we tried to confront him with
all the interrogations
that we carried out,
nothing came of it.
It was really disheartening
to question him,
without having
anything come out of it.
Which is where the idea arose that perhaps
Mrs. Olivier might be the weak link.
She was a normal woman, with no prior
convictions. She was unknown to us.
We had no reason
to suspect her of anything.
The lead investigator
tried to persuade Mrs. Olivier
saying, "Come on, help us."
"If he's done something serious,
now is the time to tell us."
It was almost a matter of undermining
Mrs. Olivier, psychologically,
to try and get her
to reveal things she knew.
[shutter clicks]
[Verlaine] Even though she was free,
we worked on her.
We often conducted
interviews with her.
Very painful interviews, very long,
almost inaudible too.
She always had this very closed-off
attitude, quiet and withdrawn,
almost fearful, with very long silences.
She stared, didn't speak.
The minutes were very long.
She would lower her head, her long hair
would fall in front of her face.
And that would go
for five or ten minutes with nothing.
She did nothing except,
every now and again
nod for "yes"
or shake her head for "no."
More long minutes of nothing.
Then a small "no" or "yes",
as if she was thinking very deeply.
That's what her interrogations were like.
[woman] Frankly, I don't know anything.
I realize how serious the situation is.
My husband worked normally at home.
And I never noticed anything
that would have made me
question his behavior.
The investigators' first impression
was that she was protecting him.
Clearly, she had no desire
to accuse Fourniret of anything.
She depended on him
psychologically, materially,
and she was certainly under his influence.
He was an extremely tough character
who didn't tolerate being challenged
and who could clearly
be brutal and violent with her.
You could understand
why she was afraid of him.
[Bourgard] We could clearly see
there were two personalities,
a strong and a weak one.
He really was the loner. He thought
that he was the only person who existed.
And Monique Olivier
was submission personified,
with nothing to say.
Fourniret worked in the woods.
Then, over time, we learned that he would
be away for several days at a time.
He would travel to France for two weeks
with just sandwiches.
We saw the bread and ham
he'd buy and eat in the van.
That was how he lived.
[Verlaine] At some point,
we might have been inclined to give up.
But we felt that we were touching on
something concrete
that could connect Fourniret
to unsolved police cases.
We knew that we were on the right
track. We just had to prove it.
All these searches allowed us
to collect many clues.
And that was how a gas station receipt,
a restaurant receipt, and a toll document
enabled us to retrace his route.
We established his presence at a location
where, a few years earlier,
young girls had been abducted.
There's been incredible solidarity
in Auxerre around a despairing family,
as they search
for a 17-year-old girl, Isabelle Laville.
In Auxerre, everyone has stepped up, and
the well-known soccer club started it all.
If people provide significant clues, they
will be rewarded with a very large check.
There's not just one. It won't be
just one clue that will help us find her.
Every clue will be rewarded,
and they will be funded
by a match that we will play here.
I was very moved to see that France
rallied together for my daughter.
Looking back,
I would say it was incredible.
But nothing came of it.
[woman] My sister and I were very close.
We got on like great friends.
We could tell each other anything.
I hoped that she would knock on the
door and that she would be standing there.
You think, "She wouldn't have run away."
We were sure of that.
But then you think,
"I hope that's what it is."
And then, you gradually stop hoping.
[mother] As time went on, we realized
that we would never find Isabelle.
It was hard.
We didn't know what happened to her.
Is she still alive?
You know it's not true. She's dead.
But you keep hoping.
when someone disappears
your world falls apart.
[sister] We waited for years.
Seventeen years.
Without knowing.
[Nachbar] June 2004, Michel Fourniret
had been detained for a year.
Monique Olivier was free.
These really were the last possible
interrogations of Monique
with Michel in detention.
There were over a hundred
Fourniret-Olivier interrogations
where they said nothing.
They were specifically questioned
about Mananya Thumpong and the others.
They said nothing.
Fourniret was going to be freed.
Unless we could find evidence
that he had committed a serious offense,
the council chamber would release him.
You can't hold someone
unless you have weightier evidence.
So we persisted with Mrs. Olivier
because Fourniret gave us nothing.
She was at the end of her tether, because
the questions were getting more specific.
During that year,
there had been no confession,
so the evidence was piling up.
She was under extreme pressure.
22 JUNE 2004
Come on, madam.
[woman] She is a woman
who trembles and hides.
In fear and secrecy, that was how Monique
Olivier lived with Michel Fourniret.
On the 22nd of June, she cracked.
Her husband is in prison
for attempted abduction.
During a routine interrogation, Monique
Olivier finally unburdened herself.
[Bourgard] When Monique arrived
at 2:30 p.m., she was incredibly tense.
She was shaking all over. She was fearful.
She didn't look up from her shoes.
You could see that she was
at the end of her tether.
There were four of us around her.
This was the moment.
I was on the floor trying to see her eyes,
because I said,
"Lift your head. Look at me.
Tell me everything. It's time."
Trying to convince her.
We all felt the same.
And then
after 30 seconds, she opened up.
She said, "It's true.
I haven't told you everything."
[Olivier] I'm determined
to tell you the truth now.
What I'm going to tell you isn't made up.
There was nothing I could do.
My husband used to go out
by himself in his van.
He said he was going to pick up girls.
Or hunt them.
And then, in less than 30 minutes,
she told us about six murders.
[Olivier] First, I must tell you, since
the start of our life together in 1987
to my knowledge,
he has killed at least six women.
One called Isabelle, from Yonne.
Farida Hellegouarch,
from the Paris region.
Jeanne-Marie Desramault from Charleville.
Elisabeth Brichet, from Namur.
Céline Saison and Mananya Thumpong.
I will now tell you about other things
that my husband is guilty of
and which led to the deaths
of two other young girls.
The first case took place around Nantes.
The other girl's case
took place around Mourmelon.
DECEMBER 1987 - APRIL 1988
AUGUST 1988 - MARCH 1989
MAY 2000 - MAY 2001
The investigators realized
that they were dealing with the activity
of an exceptional serial killer,
to an extent
that we couldn't even imagine.
[Bourgard] At one point,
we even wondered if she was making it up,
because it was so huge,
what she was telling us.
By that evening, we had eight murders.
We actually wondered. We thought,
"That seems huge, doesn't it?"
28 JUNE 2004
[Olivier] About the girl called Isabelle,
she was the first murder
I knew Michel had committed.
I thought Michel was
just going to rape her.
I heard the girl screaming.
Not for very long. I didn't react.
What I know about Mananya Thumpong
is that she was trapped in the van.
He asked her to take her clothes off.
At the end, she had to say,
"Thank you, sir."
He told me he had killed her.
Jeanne-Marie. Farida.
Céline. Elisabeth.
She must have had
medium-length blonde hair.
He said he buried her with an excavator.
He explained that
he managed to penetrate her.
Michel told me that he had raped the girl.
He likes when people beg.
I heard a gunshot.
He strangled her.
Then killed her. Then buried her.
I didn't try to intervene.
I was scared
that he would do the same to me.
I had fallen into his trap.
[Nachbar] There was a string
of abductions, murders, and rapes.
It's abominable. It's indescribable.
You can't imagine it. Can't imagine it.
The sheer horror of this monster.
[Longhini] It was a shock.
It was terrible.
A predator who comes
and takes your child
What is this?
What kind of world are we living in?
[Isabelle's mother] It's the end of hope.
We always hoped to find her.
This was final. He killed her.
I always protected her.
I picked her up from school in the evening
when she finished late, at five pm.
Not that time.
I couldn't protect anyone.
Not my parents, not her.
[siren blaring]
30 JUNE 2004
[Bourgard] The next day,
Fourniret was summoned at 8:30 am.
There'd been leaks to the press.
[woman] A little absent, a little unwell,
Monique Olivier never seemed
like a fulfilled woman.
She remained in the grips
of a threatening man.
To denounce him is also to leave him.
Fourniret found out on the radio that
Monique Olivier had just turned him in.
So when he arrived at his hearing
the next morning, he started by saying
[Fourniret] I heard on the radio
this morning that my name was mentioned
in relation to several abductions
or murders of young girls or young women.
One of my wife's qualities
is that she is not dishonest.
"My wife didn't have to lie because"
Oh, I've forgotten the term.
"She's not good at that,
and I put pressure on her."
"It's the result of all the years
I put her under pressure."
he is already clearing his wife.
He doesn't assign
any responsibility to her,
or any role in the abductions
and murders that he committed.
[Fourniret] These statements
in some sense liberate her
from the tyrannical despotism that I have
imposed on her since we've lived together.
She didn't have the choice
to refuse what I imposed.
So she accepted it to survive.
He was clear, he was composed,
he admitted what he did. That's it.
[Nachbar] Monique Olivier played no part
in any of the six or seven murders
that she told us about
over two or three days.
She was a submissive, terrorized wife
who couldn't say anything
or her life would be in danger.
This character that she played,
of an idiot who was completely
overwhelmed by the events,
completely terrorized by Fourniret
A few of us believed she was actually
far more complex and far more perverse
than the impression she was portraying.
At 11, close to midnight, we were sitting
around a plate of spaghetti
on the fourth floor
of the Federal Police building,
and we all agreed that it was obvious
that Monique had more to tell us.
Then she went a little
further in her confession.
She said, "Actually,
I didn't tell you everything."
"I took part in
the abduction of Isabelle Laville."
"I was actually an active participant."
She was a co-offender.
[Bourgard] We didn't suspect that.
We didn't expect a woman who was
the most ordinary woman in the world,
who nobody knew,
to reveal this kind of thing.
It's unbelievable.
Now we had this Machiavellian couple.
The case took on a whole other dimension.
In the end, she confessed to some
absolutely terrible things that she did.
When she confessed, implicating herself
as having an active role
in several murders, abductions, and rapes,
my feelings about her were reaffirmed.
To me, she was fundamentally evil.
[man] We were confronted with a mystery.
What makes a woman
a future mother, then a mother
become complicit in such horrors?
[siren wailing]
[telephone ringing]
[Olivier] Yes, hello, counselor.
How are you, Mrs. Olivier?
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