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  • Writer's pictureElsa Moreira

Joël Bourgeon, the rejected lover

Hi guys, I hope you’re doing okay! Today, I’m going to tell you about a case that reminds me a lot of the Narumi Kurosaki case. So let’s dive into it. Here’s the story of Martine Escadeillas!


Martine


Martine Escadeillas (source : Marianne)
Martine Escadeillas (source : Marianne)

It’s 1986. Martine Escadeillas is a 24-year-old secretary living in Ramonville-Saint-Agne, near Toulouse, with her long time boyfriend, Thierry Milisevic. Martine is discreet, but always smiling and ready to help. Plus, she is really pretty and very stylish.


She lives a very peaceful and good life. She is the youngest of four children, and visits her family every weekend. She also has a big friend group which shares her passion for motorbikes and parties. Everything is going great, which will make the following events sadder and more incomprehensible.


Vanished

On December 8th, 1986, Martine drops her boyfriend Thierry off at the bus stop so he can go to work. After that, she returns to her place, parks her car and goes into her apartment. After that…nothing.


In the afternoon, her sister Nicole calls her workplace to ask her to run an errand for her. That’s when she learns that Martine didn’t make it to work that day. Nicole then tries to call Martine’s apartment, but no one answers. She starts to worry, so she calls her other sister Simone, who decides to go see Martine herself. She goes to her place, and runs into the cleaning lady who says “I don’t know what happened last night, but there’s a lot of blood”. The two start checking every corner of the building, and finally make it to the cellar, where they find more blood, and some of Martine’s jewels.


Panicked, Simone goes into a nearby shop and asks to be taken to the police station.

Once the gendarmes are alerted, they immediately go into Martine’s apartment, and find her breakfast set up on her table, and the iron plugged in. They start asking the neighbors if they saw anything, and one of them tells them that she heard yelling around 8:30am. She then opened her door, and saw a man crouching down on somebody. And instead of saying anything or calling the police, she just…closed her door. A few minutes later, she went back out to take her kids to school, and heard more suspicious noises, which she ignored.


The investigators examine Martine’s relatives and acquaintances to try to find the mysterious man, but to no avail. Well, they would have found him if they had dug a little deeper, but we’ll talk about that later.

Martine’s family first suspects Thierry, but is alibi is solid: he was at work, and several witnesses can confirm that.


The investigation quickly starts slowing down. The nearby river and canal are searched, but nothing is found, and the case is closed in 1989.


Martine’s family doesn’t give up. In 1995, they go on the show “Témoin n°1” (”Witness no.1”), which prompts the district attorney to reopen the case. Several leads come from the show, but none are worthwhile.

The same year, a blood stain is found in one of the corridors leading to the basement in Martine’s building. The stain is analyzed, but only Martine’s DNA is found on it.


Serial killer Patrice Alègre (source : Actu.fr)
Serial killer Patrice Alègre (source : Actu.fr)

Another lead pops up in 1997. The serial killer Patrice Alègre is arrested. Martine matches is victim type, but there are two issues: Patrice was too young at the time of her disappearance, and he doesn’t match the neighbor’s description. This lead goes nowhere.


The family tries their best to stay strong, but in 1998, Martine’s father dies without ever knowing what happened to his daughter. In the year 2000, Martine’s mother dies, grief-stricken by both her losses.

The case is closed again in 2008. Everything seems to show that this case will never be solved, but in 2016, a letter changes everything.


The miracle

In 2016, the Toulouse district attorney receives a letter from Patricia T., who was close to Martine in 1986. In this letter, she talks about one of their friends, Joël Bourgeon, who according to her, should have been considered a suspect from the beginning. But who is Joël?


Joël was part of the crew and a good friend of Martine’s, but Thierry describes him as having a bad inferiority complex. Moreover, according to Patricia, he was obviously in love with Martine, and thus very jealous of her romance with Thierry.


Thanks to this new testimony, the case is reopened, and investigators start digging into Joël’s past. They then discover that when he got interrogated not long after Martine’s disappearance, he gave his mother’s address and not his. Also, none of his declarations, including his alibi, were verified. And a few weeks after this interrogation, he left his job at a high school even though he had just obtained his tenure, and moved suddenly to a whole other region. Once there, he dated a 17-year-old for a while (gross). The investigators find her, and what she tells them is chilling.


Apparently, Joël made her wear specific types of clothes, makeup and hairstyle so she would look more like Martine. He also gave her some jewelry which wasn’t wrapped in anything, including a watch that the family recognized as being a watch that Martine bought in Andorra a couple weeks before her disappearance.


Joël Bourgeon’s guilt getting more plausible by the minute, he is arrested on January 22nd, 2019. He doesn’t resist. In fact, he doesn’t even seem surprised.


The confession, the retraction and the trial

Joël doesn’t last long in the interrogation room before giving 33 pages of confessions. He tells the investigators that on December 8th, 1986, he went to see Martine, knowing that Thierry wouldn’t be there. Once he saw her, he confessed his love to her (and according to some sources, he also told her that Thierry was cheating on her). Martine rejected him, which sparked an argument. Conveniently, Joël’s memory fails us at that point, and he doesn’t remember how Martine ended up unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. He only remembers dragging her to her cellar before putting her in his car and taking her to the Pech-David woods. Once again, his memory fails us, and he can’t remember exactly where he dropped Martine’s body.


After this confession, Joël is immediately indicted, but a few days later, he retracts his confession, saying that the investigators told him what to say. The thing is, some elements worked in his favor for a while.

First, there’s the circumstances around the confession. Joël wasn’t being assisted by a lawyer, even though he allegedly requested one. Plus, the confession was made after a long discussion with the district attorney, which makes a “scripted” confession plausible.

On the other hand, Joël doesn’t match the description given by the neighbor (you know, the one who saw part of the assault and did nothing). However, a reconstitution is organized in January 2021, and during that reconstitution, it is proven that this neighbor couldn’t have clearly seen the assault from her position.

Finally, when Joël asks to be released impending his trial, he doesn’t claim he’s innocent, he simply cites the fact that being in prison is very hard.

Regarding Martine’s family, they are all convinced that he is guilty.

On the contrary, Joël’s family believes in his innocence.


Both camps meet in court on July 1st, 2022 when the trial begins. Five days later, Joël Bourgeon is sentenced to 20 years in prison. He immediately appeals the sentence, but the wheels of justice are slow. Since appeal trials must take place at most a year after the first trial, and since the deadline passed a month ago, Joël’s lawyer tried to obtain his release, but the district attorney refused and prolonged his detention for 6 more months.

I hope that appeal trial comes soon, not because I believe he’s innocent, but because that will be another chance for him to tell Martine’s family where her body is. That family deserves to grieve properly.


That’s it for this case ! It reminds me a lot of the Narumi case. Indeed, both cases involved a man with a fragile ego who can’t handle rejection, and in both cases the bodies haven’t been found and we are waiting for the appeal trials. I’ll keep you informed!

In the meantime, tell me what you think about this case on r/Murder_Wine_Cheese or by sending me a message via the contact form. And if you’re in a giving mood, don’t hesitate to send me a dollar so I can get resources to tell you about more cases!

Go watch some kitten videos, and I’ll see you with the next case!

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