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CRIME

Death of Belgian family in Switzerland: ‘Father left farewell note’

Prosecutors looking into the case of a Belgian couple and their 13-year-old son who were found dead in their home in Apples in Switzerland's Vaud canton on Monday have indicated it may have been a murder–suicide.

Death of Belgian family in Switzerland: 'Father left farewell note'
File photo: Valais Police

Speaking to Geveva daily, Tribune de Genève, the chief prosecutor for the La Côte region in canton Vaud, Jean-Marie Ruede, a farewell note from the father had been found.

In the letter the father, a manager with a pharmaceutical firm in Neuchâtel, indicated “life was no longer possible for him” at least from a professional point of view, the official said.

“He changed firms a year ago and he wasn’t happy there,” Ruede added.

While the authorship of the letter has yet to be formally established, investigators are now working on the theory that the father, who had been on sick leave for some time, had killed his wife and son before taking his own life.

The fact that the father was found in the ground floor of the family home while his wife and son were found upstairs is also possible evidence that this was the case, the prosecutor said.

Maude said he believed the deaths may have been caused by an overdose of medication. Autopsies of the bodies of the woman and her son had revealed no evidence of firearm or knife wounds.

The bodies of the three family members were found on Monday evening after concerned residents contacted police saying they had not heard anything from their neighbours.

The time of death is not yet known, but the La Côte prosecutor said the family had not been seen since last Thursday while the latest social media posts from the family dated back to the same day.

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CRIME

Swiss woman indicted over ‘jihadist knife attack’ in department store

Swiss prosecutors said Wednesday they had indicted a woman for attempted murder on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) group over a brutal knife attack in November 2020.

Swiss woman indicted over 'jihadist knife attack' in department store

The 29-year-old unnamed woman allegedly attacked two women in a department store in the southern city of Lugano.

She has been charged with attempted murder and violating laws against association with Al-Qaeda, IS and related groups, according to the indictment.

She was also charged with unlawful prostitution.

EXPLAINED: Does Switzerland face a threat from terrorism?

The attorney general’s office said the indictment related to a “jihadist knife attack” and the alleged assailant, a Swiss citizen, “intended to kill her victims and to commit a terrorist act on behalf of IS.”

“The suspect acted wilfully and with particular ruthlessness. She brutally attacked her randomly-selected victims with a knife, with the aim of killing them and thereby spreading terror throughout the population on behalf of the ‘Islamic State’,” it said.

One of the two victims sustained serious neck injuries while the second victim, with help from others at the scene, managed to overpower her attacker and hold her until police arrived.

The attacker was arrested and detained. Police quickly discovered she had been linked to a 2017 jihadism investigation.

The woman had formed a relationship on social media with a jihadist fighter in Syria and attempted to travel to the war-torn country to meet him, police alleged at the time.

She was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, they said, adding that the woman had suffered from mental health problems and been admitted to a psychiatric clinic.

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