A French family obsessed with conspiracy theories since the Covid pandemic jumped one after the other to their death from their seventh-floor apartment in the Swiss town of Montreux, police said on Tuesday March 29.
Eric David, 40, his 41-year-old wife Nasrine Feraoun, her twin sister Narjisse, and the couple’s eight-year-old daughter were found dead at the bottom of a seven-story building on last Thursday.
The couple’s 15-year-old son survived the fall and was seriously injured. He is currently in a coma in a stable condition in hospital.
The Vaud regional police said on Tuesday they are working on a theory of ‘collective suicide’ and their findings suggest ‘all the victims jumped from the balcony one after the other’.
The five family members all jumped more than 65 feet from the apartment, where they all lived ‘withdrawn from society’, just moments after police officers tried to execute an arrest warrant in connection with the home-schooling of a child, police said.
Police said the incident occurred after two officers arrived at the apartment at 6.15am to execute a warrant for the father in connection with the home-schooling of one of the couple’s children on Thursday.
The officers knocked on the door and heard a voice ask who they were. But when they answered, the apartment went quiet. After failing to make contact, the officers left.
Shortly before 7am, all five family members jumped from the balcony within the space of five minutes.
Police detected no trace of a struggle, seemingly confirming that they jumped off their own accord. A step ladder was found on the balcony.
‘Before or during the events, no witnesses, including the two police officers present on the spot from 6:15 am and the passers-by at the foot of the building, heard the slightest noise or cry coming from the apartment or the balcony,’ police said.
‘Technical investigations show no warning signs of such an act,’ they added, noting however that ‘since the start of the pandemic, the family was very interested in conspiracy and survivalist theories’.
Police said the family lived in virtual self-sufficiency having amassed a well-organised stockpile of various food, taking up much of their living space but enabling them to see out a major crisis.
Only the mother’s twin sister worked outside the home, while neither the mother nor the eight-year-old girl, who did not attend school, were registered with the local authorities.
‘All these elements suggest… fear of the authorities interfering in their lives,’ the police statement said.
Neighbours said the family was quiet and kept to themselves.
‘We heard nothing from their home, the father never said hello in the hallway and ordered many packages almost daily,’ neighbour Claude Rouiller told Swiss newspaper Le Temps.