On September 5, 2012, a British tourist named Brett Marin stumbled upon a gruesome discovery while cycling in the French Alpine village of Chevaline. He discovered the motionless body of a little girl lying in a pool of blood next to a car with its engine still running. Inside the car, Marin found Saad Al-Hilli, a British-Iraqi man with a gunshot wound to the head, along with his wife Iqbal (47) and mother-in-law Suhaila (74) who also had gunshot wounds. The little girl was Zainab, the 7-year-old daughter of Saad and Iqbal. Additionally, Marin found another victim – French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, who had been shot five times. The incident resulted in the deaths of Saad, Iqbal, Suhaila, Sylvain, and Zainab. But to everyone’s surprise, Zainab survived.
At first, it appeared that there were no additional survivors but after a tip from a local campsite owner, the police discovered another daughter of the Al-Hilli family – Zeena. She had hidden under her mother during the attack and miraculously survived unharmed for hours.
The details surrounding this massacre remain a mystery as an extensive investigation has yielded few leads. This case has baffled French police as they struggle to identify the perpetrator and establish a motive despite lacking definitive evidence and eyewitness accounts. A new book and documentary series have recently emerged shedding new light on this case by delving into it with Filmmaker Imen Ghouali and crime journalist Brendan Kemmett spending two years investigating it separately.
The filmmakers believe that certain aspects of the police investigation may not have been thoroughly explored like linking this case with another murder involving Belgian tourist Xavier Baligant where both cases shared several similarities leading speculation that a serial killer could be responsible for both incidents or possibly Iqbal’s wife had troubled past including previous marriage under different identity and alleged involvement in an extortion gang which further complicated things when her former husband James Thompson was found dead on same day as Chevaline massacre adding more layers to this already complex mystery case .