Paris (CNN)A man was arrested in the French Alps on Wednesday on suspicion of murdering four people, including three members of a British family, more than nine years ago, the Annecy prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Saad al-Hilli, his wife, Ikbal al-Hilli, and his 74-year-old mother-in-law were shot dead on the outskirts of Chevaline, near Lake Annecy, on September 5, 2012. The al-Hillis’ two young daughters survived the shootings, one with wounds from a beating and a gunshot.
A French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was also shot dead at the same time.
“A person was put in custody on January 12, 2022 at 8:05 a.m. (local) by the investigation unit of Chambéry in relation with the murder of the Al Hili family and Sylvain Mollier, dubbed the ‘Chevaline case,'” the statement said.
The arrest was carried out to verify the suspect’s schedule, according to the statement.
The unnamed man, who was living with his partner, was arrested on the order of the investigating judge assigned to the case, according to CNN’s affiliate BFMTV. He has previously been heard as a witness in this case.
His home was also searched on Wednesday morning.
This is not the first time someone has been put in custody by the investigation team. None of the previous arrests led to a breakthrough or a charge.
Last September, a crime reconstruction was carried out in the village of Chevaline in the presence of many witnesses, according to BFMTV. Investigators were attempting to retrace the killer’s route and time their actions.
The reasons for the attack remain a mystery.
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1962, Saad al-Hilli was a naturalized British citizen who had lived in the United Kingdom for decades. He was an engineer working at Surrey Satellite Technology, a high-tech company owned by EADS, an aerospace corporation that builds satellites.
He lived with his wife in the town of Claygate, in the southern English county of Surrey. The couple’s elder daughter, age seven at the time, was found badly injured by a British cyclist who was the first to come across the scene of the shootings. The second daughter, age four, was only discovered hours later hiding in the back of the car under her dead mother’s legs.