The French Justice Minister yesterday promised to investigate how a sex offender recently released from prison evaded surveillance to kidnap and assault a 15-year-old girl, who was discovered alive in his car boot seven days later.
Chloé Rodriguez was kidnapped outside her home at Barjac in the département of Gard in the South of France on 9 November. She was found at Offenburg in Germany one week later when her attacker, Kamel Bousselat, 32, crashed his car while being pursued by police for a minor theft.
Chloé told investigators that she managed to create a friendly relationship with Bousselat, who told her that he was working with people much more violent than he was. "I never contradicted him so that my life would not be in danger," German police quoted her as saying.
Chloé told investigators that her kidnapper allowed her to travel in the front seat on open roads but hid her in the boot in towns. Chloé said that she thought that they had fled first to Italy and then to Germany.
Investigators thought at first that Chloé might have been the victim of an international paedophile prostitution ring. They now believe that Bousselat – who was released from prison in September after being jailed for a string of sexual assaults – was acting alone.
Judicial officials have been ordered by the government to explain why they failed to react when Bousselat skipped a meeting with a probation officer in Avignon on 24 September, 10 days after leaving jail. It has also emerged that the national sex-offenders' register was not updated when Bousselat left prison. Police were therefore unaware that he was at large.
The Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, said yesterday that she would seek "total clarity on the circumstances in which this girl came to fall into this man's hands".
German investigators said the girl was sexually assaulted and probably raped. French authorities have issued a European Arrest Warrant for "kidnapping and rape". Bousselat is expected to be extradited to France shortly.
Chloé was snatched on 9 November when she dismounted from her scooter in the drive of her home. Last Friday, German police investigating the theft of a laptop pursued Bousselat's car. He crashed and ran away but was rapidly arrested. On returning to the car, the officers found Chloé in the boot.