CRIME HUNTER: Cop admits in suicide note he’s notorious ‘Pockmarked Killer’

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For a country the size of France, there are blissfully few murders.

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And there are even fewer child murders of the kind that strike terror into the hearts of parents the world over.

But just after noon on May 5, 1986, Cécile Bloch’s mother called home to make sure her daughter had made it home for lunch. When she didn’t answer the phone, the worried mother called the girl’s school.

Cecile never made it to school that day.

The frantic mother called her husband and he had a guard check around the Paris building where they lived.

The 11-year-old’s body was found under a piece of old carpet in the building’s basement.

One witness said they saw a man with a pockmarked face in the vicinity. This face would show up again and again.

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For nearly four decades, the mystery of the Pockmarked Killer — or “Le Grele” — has vexed French homicide detectives. There were more murders.

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On June 9, 1994, high school student Karine Leroy vanished on her way to school. Her body was discovered three days later.

Air France mechanic Gilles Politi, 38, and his German au pair, Irmgard Muller were murdered in May 1987 in Paris.

In all three murders, the victims were strangled.

And until this week, they were no closer to catching the monster fingered in four horrific murders and six rapes since he began his spree in 1986.

Now, cops say the manhunt has ended with the discovery of the body of a man detectives believe is the killer.

Cecile Broch, 11, was murdered in 1986.
Cecile Broch, 11, was murdered in 1986. Photo by HANDOUT /FRENCH NATIONAL POLICE

According to AFP, the body of the suspected serial killer — a former police officer — was discovered in the southern city of Grau-du-Roi on Wednesday.

French newsmagazine Le Point and the newspaper Le Parisien identified the dead man only as 59-year-old Francois V.

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It’s believed investigators were beginning to close in on Francois V. when he took his own life.

The dead man left behind a suicide note and identified himself as the notorious monster who began killing in 1986 with the rape and murder of Cecile Bloch. He identified himself as Le Grele and police are conducting DNA tests to confirm his identity.

Le Parisien reported that detectives were zeroing in on Francois V. and had ordered him to appear before a committing magistrate. He never showed up and instead killed himself.

The suspect reportedly said in his suicide note that at the time of the rapes and murders he was not in a stable state of mind. But since that time, he wrote, he had “got himself together.”

Patricia Moreno was murdered in 1991. Cops say they have her killer.
Patricia Moreno was murdered in 1991. Cops say they have her killer. Photo by HANDOUT /MIDDLESEX COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

OLD SCHOOL: SHOE LEATHER NABS COLD CASE KILLER

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Patricia Moreno was just a kid with her whole life ahead of her when she was murdered in Malden, Massachusetts.

In many long cold cases, it is DNA and other modern marvels that brings killers to justice. In the case of Moreno, it was old-fashioned shoe leather.

“This is a case that was solved not by a new development in forensic science, but as a result of relentless investigative work and a change in circumstances for some parties involved,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan told reporters.

According to cops, on July 20, 1991, officers responded just after 3 a.m. to a Malden apartment where they found Moreno laying on the fire escape landing. The 17-year-old had a single gunshot wound to the head but was still alive.

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Tragically, doctors determined she had suffered an irreversible brain injury and she succumbed later that day. At the time, she was living with a foster family.

Enter Rodney Daniels, 48. He had been in a relationship with one of the teenage daughters of Moreno’s foster mother and was on scene when the teen was shot but told cops he was asleep in an armchair when he heard two gunshots.

There were no signs of forced entry and detectives did not recover the gun or bullet casings at the crime scene. But cops did discover Daniels owned guns — lots of them. Plus, they also learned he had threatened Moreno.

Last year, the cold case unit looked at the case again. A long ago witness who had left the country said he saw a man go from the fire escape back into the apartment and close the door. The description matched Daniels.

He was arrested in Georgia without incident and has been charged with murder.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

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