Swiss police say that the father of missing Swiss twins wrote a letter saying he had killed them.
Vaud cantonal (state) police said yesterday that Matthias Kaspar Schepp said in the letter that six-year-olds Alessia and Livia were dead and he would now kill himself.
The letter was sent from Italy on Feb. 3, the same day Schepp was found dead in an apparent suicide.
Despite the revelation, searches continued in France, Switzerland and Italy for the girls, who were reported missing by their mother on Jan. 30 when her estranged husband didn’t return them to her home
Roberto Mestichelli, a cousin of the mother Irina Lucidi, said yesterday that she and other family members in Switzerland were informed about the the father’s letter.
“The concept was that he communicated that he had killed them, that he would be the third one to die,” Mestichelli said from his home in Ascoli Piceno, near Italy’s central Adriatic coast.
“There was never a thread of hope. There is no hope,” he said of finding the girls alive.
Swiss police said on Thursday that in the days before he apparently killed himself, Matthias Kaspar Schepp, 43, used his work computer to trawl the Internet for information on firearms, poisons and suicide. He was found dead Feb. 3 in the southern Italian city of Cerignola. Police say he threw himself under a train.
French newspaper Le Parisien said Schepp’s written plans were contained in a will he left in his home in Saint-Sulpice, an affluent lakefront community within Lausanne, Switzerland, before leaving with the twins on Jan. 30. The will, dated Jan. 27, was found by police who searched the home after the girls were reported missing.
Police say starting Jan. 30, Schepp traveled from Switzerland to Marseille, France, then on to Corsica and back to mainland France before reaching Italy. It is unclear when and where the girls disappeared.
Previously, authorities had said the girls were last seen aboard an overnight ferry Schepp took on Jan. 31 from Marseille to Propriano, Corsica, but that their trail was lost on the boat.
They say Schepp returned alone by ferry to Toulon, France.