Disappearance of Allison and Marie-José Benitez

Marie-José Benitez and her adult daughter Allison Benitez are two women who disappeared on 14 July 2013 from Perpignan, in south-western France, under mysterious circumstances.[1][2][3]

Marie-José Benitez
Disappeared14 July 2013 (age 53)
Perpignan, France
StatusMissing for 6 years, 6 months and 4 days
NationalityFrench
Allison Benitez
Born
Allison Benitez
Disappeared14 July 2013 (age 19)
Perpignan, France
StatusMissing for 6 years, 6 months and 4 days
NationalityFrench
Parents
  • Francisco Benitez (father)
  • Marie-José Benitez (mother)

DisappearanceEdit

The last time Allison Benitez was seen was when she met her father, Francisco "Paco" Benitez (born in Algeciras on 13 December 1963 and raised in Ceuta),[4] a chief warrant officer in the French Foreign Legion, on 14 July 2013.[5]

Francisco Benitez told the family's friends that his wife and daughter had gone on a trip to Toulouse and that their mobile phones were switched off. He did not, however, inform his wife's family.[1] After several days with no contact, Allison's friends reported her and her mother missing to the police.[when?][1] Francisco Benitez reported them missing on 22 July.[3]

InvestigationEdit

The police were unable to find any evidence that Allison and Marie-José Benitez had travelled to Toulouse. Neither had a driving licence, and CCTV at Perpignan railway station yielded no trace of them. Investigators questioned Francisco Benitez, who explained that they had left due to marital difficulties between him and his wife.[1] Forensic results showed that no calls had been made to either woman's mobile phones since their alleged departure on their trip, nor had there been any movements on either of their bank accounts.[1] On 2 August, a preliminary inquiry was launched to "establish the causes of a worrying disappearance".[1] All searches for the pair were fruitless.[1][6][7]

The media attention on the case alerted the family of Simone Oliveira Alves, a Brazilian woman living in Nîmes who disappeared mysteriously in 2004,[8] aged 28. She had been Francisco Benitez's girlfriend without realising that he was married. Francisco Benitez's double life was revealed and police were intrigued by the similarities in the disappearances. The case into Alves' disappearance was reopened.

AftermathEdit

A few weeks later, Francisco Benitez uploaded a video onto the website of French magazine Paris Match to appeal for witnesses to help find his wife and daughter.[1] He also proclaimed his innocence.[2] On 5 August, he committed suicide by hanging himself in the Perpignan barracks of the Foreign Legion,[1][6] after having called another of his mistresses who lived in Barcelona.[9] It is believed that he was unable to bear the suspicion surrounding him.[2]

In late 2013, forensic tests carried out at the barracks revealed traces of Allison Benitez's blood in a freezer[1][2][3] and a tumble drier.[6] Francisco Benitez had cleaned the freezer and tumble drier shortly after the disappearance,[2] and so appears to be the prime suspect[6] in what is believed to be a double murder.[3] His alleged motive is that his daughter had discovered he was having an affair and was about to tell her mother.[1] No trace of Allison or Marie-José Benitez, either alive or dead, has been found.[7]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Envoyé spécial : "Affaire Benitez, l'énigme du légionnaire"". Teleobs (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Disparues de Perpignan - Le congélateur du père au centre de toutes les attentions". ParisMatch.com (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  3. ^ a b c d "Disparues de Perpignan : Benitez a transporté son congélateur à la Légion". Le Figaro. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  4. ^ "La Clau - Francisco Benitez, une vie d'errances - Société". www.la-clau.net. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  5. ^ "Mystery of beauty queen, 19, who is missing with her mother as French Foreign Legion father is found hanged". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  6. ^ a b c d "Affaire Benitez : de nouvelles fouilles prévues avant l'été". Lindependant.fr. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  7. ^ a b "Perpignan: un an après leur disparition, la fille et l'épouse du légionnaire introuvables". www.lexpress.fr. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  8. ^ "A missing beauty queen's father with a dark past". thelocal.fr. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  9. ^ "Les autres vies cachées de Francisco Benitez". Libération.fr. Retrieved 2015-12-22.