Family of missing French couple visits Costa Rica

March 22, 2012

From the print edition

Céline Roussel arrived at the residence of the French ambassador Thursday morning to explain to members of the press her story and her one mission in Costa Rica.  

“I want to be able to make my return to France with the bodies of my parents,” Roussel said.

Her parents, Claude and Gerard Dubois, disappeared near the central Pacific beach town of Manuel Antonio on March 31, 2011.

Claude’s brother Alain, the family’s lawyer Nathalie Valade and France Ambassador Fabrice Delloye joined Roussel at a press conference.

The missing couple, both 65 and retired at the time of the incident, vanished after leaving Manuel Antonio in their rented Daihatsu Terios. The car was found on a bridge over the Naranjo River on the highway between Quepos and Dominical (TT, March 19, Jan. 13, 2012, July 4, April 4, 2011). 

The windows of the vehicle had been broken, and the Dubois’ bags were found alongside the river, empty of possessions. Their passports were found 75 kilometers north of their car in a trash can close to the beach town of Jacó. Someone made purchases with a credit card owned by the Dubois several times between the date of their disappearance and April 7.

Costa Rican authorities surmised the incident as a drowning in the aftermath, and said the materials could have been robbed from the car since it was left abandoned on the side of the road for two days. However, a search by the national Coast Guard was unsuccessful. The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) “are collaborating” with French authorities, Delloye said.

A judicial investigation in France was opened last summer in the city of Meaux “for abduction and kidnapping.”

Roussel and the rest of the group will visit Quepos to follow up on clues, retrace the Dubois’s trip and talk to the OIJ. They also plan to visit Tamarindo, a beach town in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, the last place the couple visited before heading to the central Pacific. 

The ambassador said that French detectives will visit the country in upcoming months to assist in the investigation. But Roussel hopes the family can find some closure during the current visit. 

“I want to explain to my daughter what happened to her grandparents,” Roussel said. “And to do a proper burial for my parents.”

If you have any information about the Dubois, the French Embassy urges calling OIJ in Quepos at 2777-0511.

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