Hi everyone, I hope your self-quarantine is going well ! This week, I got to dive into such a crazy case that even a Fast & Furious writer would admit that it makes no sense. Take a seat, make yourself coffee or tea, grab some candy or some chips, and be ready, because today I’m going to tell you the story of the doctor Marcel Petiot.
Let’s start at the beginning of the beginning. Marcel Petiot was born on January 17th, 1897 in the French city of Auxerre. His father works at the post office and his mother stays at home. The family is pretty normal, except for the fact that Ms. Petiot has severe psychiatric issues.People describe Marcel as a smart but very disturbed kid. Reading this, you’re probably imagining a little boy drawing weird things or walking funny on certain days of the month. You’re not ready (TW: hug your cat). Take a deep breath…
Marcel boiled the legs of the neighborhood cats before strangling them. Take a few seconds if you need, because we’re just getting started.At 8, he distributes pornographic pictures at school.At 11, he SHOOTS A GUN IN THE MIDDLE OF CLASS ! How did this story not end there ? Wasn’t there an adult in the building to call the police and say that the little Marcel, 11 years old, came to history class with a damn gun. I –
Anyway, no one reacts and Marcel gets to continue his chaotic little childhood. A year later, as if he wasn’t disturbed enough yet, his mother dies in a psychiatric hospital. Do you think that this kid got a little help after that ? NOPE !
From there, we lose Marcel’s tracks until his late teenage years. At 17, he steals the mail of his neighbors for no apparent reason, and isn’t sent to jail because he’s diagnosed with bipolar disorder and antisocial tendencies. Two years later, in 1916, the First World War is raging, so he’s sent to combat. He spends 6 months in the trenches before getting injured. He is sent to the hospital, and steals the blankets there ???? Well, nobody had time for his shit, so he was sent to military prison in Orléans. Even there, no one can handle him, so he ends up at the psychiatric hospital of Fleury-les-Aubrais. He is sent back to combat in 1918, but that dumbass manages to shoot himself in the foot, and since the war is ending, nobody gives a shit. Once the peace treaty is signed, he is sent back to civilian life and begins his secret career as a magician (keep reading, you’ll get it).
On December 15th, 1921 after an accelerated course offered to veterans, Marcel Petiot gets a medical degree with honors. Didn’t need much at the time…
He opens his first office in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne in 1922, and becomes popular for the first time in his life. He better have enjoyed it, because people end up finding out that he was committing insurance fraud.
In 1926, we also learn that he’s having an affair with one of his patients’ daughter, Louise Daveleau, but nothing can be proven because she suddenly dies in a home fire. It’s like magic… Not long after that, he marries Georgette Lablais, the daughter of the local butcher. You think this story is already crazy ? Strap in…Marcel Petiot because MAYOR of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne the same year !! Thankfully, he only does one term and leaves office in 1931 after a loooot of embezzlement, but this expired mailman spunk was the leader of a city for 5 YEARS ! Oh, and during his term, in 1930, another woman burned to death in her home, but the only witness magically disappeared.
After these shenanigans, he takes his girl and his money, and moves to Paris in 1933. He opens a new office in the 16th district, and says everywhere that he invented a bunch of new devices and techniques, including a machine that allows women to give birth without pain and without needing anesthesia. Sure, Jan…Of course, no one believes him, so Marcel, in 1941, decides to keep his bank account full by selling drugs and helping people cross the border. During the fucking Nazi Occupation. Since he is so skilled, the Gestapo is onto him almost immediately, but every time he is about to get caught, witnesses and snitches magically disappear. He manages to keep his scheme going for 3 years, but don’t worry, karma always catches up…
On March 11th, 1944, the custodian of the 22, Lesueur Street calls the police to complain of the smelly smoke coming out of the 21. The police officers get there, but a note on the door says that the owners are gone to Auxerre for a month. Detective Massu says « fuck it » and calls the firefighters to take down the door. They get there, they do, everybody gets into the house and guess what ? They find parts of dead bodies burning. Parts of 17 bodies to be more precise !
The policemen, after puking somewhere, start going to the neighbors to find out whose mess it is. And just as they learn that Marcel Petiot is the guy they’re looking for, Marcel just appears on a bike ! Well, he’s not that stupid, so he pretends to be his brother and says that the bodies burning are those of nazis and nazi allies. And then he just rolls away.The policemen resume the search of the house and find 10 more bodies buried under quicklime in the garden. They start thinking that this is a lot, even for a resistant, so they go the 66, Caumartin Street, the other house owned by Petiot. They find his wife there, and she basically tells them « he’s not here, fuck off » and gets back to making dinner. The policemen are left with nothing else to do, so they go back to the 21, Lesueur Street the next day and make the graveyard employees take out the bodies.
As the dead bodies are being evacuated, detective Massu starts thinking that murdering nazis a few streets down from the Gestapo headquarters isn’t a very smart move. And suddenly, his two neurons connect after years of efforts and he realizes that he got played, but it’s already too late. Marcel and Georgette Petiot have magically disappeared.
The police do everything they can to find them, mainly because everybody in Paris now knows how dumb they are. Georgette and his son Gérard, as well as Marcel’s actual brother Maurice, are quickly found in Auxerre and are brought back to Paris. Once there, the interrogation begins. Well, it doesn’t begin immediately because GEORGETTE LITERALLY PASSES OUT AT THE FIRST QUESTION ! This bitch didn’t even try ! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, she is brought to the hospital, and Maurice is interrogated instead.
Maurice doesn’t pass out, but he acts like he’s deaf and blind about the situation even though the neighbors constantly saw him deliver quicklime at the 21, Lesueur Street, and taking out luggage out of there. The police finds said luggage at a house belonging to the Neuhausen, a couple of family friends, who say that they belong to Jews who Marcel helped escape France. The police officers reply « ok bro » and throw everyone in the La Santé prison until the investigation is done.
Speaking of the investigation, the latter is quite disturbed by the suicide of a little German guy in a bunker and other political stuff, but everybody does their best. Things get more complicated when detective Massu is thrown in prison for willful collaboration with the Nazis. He is replaced by detective Soutif, who uses a smart trap to get Marcel. He publishes an article in a Parisian journal accusing Petiot of collaborating the Nazis. The dumbass replies and even declares that he’s part of the FFI militia, basically doing the job of the investigators for them, and the members of the militia confirm that they do have a weird guy fitting the description in their ranks.
Petiot is found and arrested on October 31st, 1944. Everybody sighs in relief, except for detective Soutif who is now also accused of willful collaboration with Hitler’s homeboys. He’s replaced by detective Pinot, and judge Coletti joins the investigation to make sure nothing else goes to shit. He exposes the belongings found in the luggage in a gallery, and most victims are soon identified. The exposition also allows the investigators to find out that Petiot didn’t discriminate at all: jews, criminals, junkies, sex workers, nazis, if they went to him, they magically disappeared.
Petiot denies everything and manages to publish a book about chance (?) while he’s in jail.
Judge Coletti concludes the investigation, and the experts declare that the now psychotic Petiot is fit to stand trial (okay, I guess), and the trial begins on March 18th, 1946. Do you think that the psychotic doctor/drug dealer/killer/smuggler/dumbass is going to let his trial just happen ? NOPE !On the first day, he justifies himself by saying that at least he didn’t pledge allegiance to Pétain (the French leader who collaborated with Hitler). On the second day, he says that he killed 63 people, but only Nazis and collaborators. On day 3, he and his lawyer FALL ASLEEP during the prosecutor’s statement, and when his lawyer wakes up, he starts a statement that lasts 7 HOURS !The jurors must have felt the same way I feel right now because they only deliberate for 2 hours before sentencing Petiot to death.
On May 25th, 1946, he smokes one last cigarette in the La Santé prison, and his lasts words are « It’s not going to be pretty ».He is hung, and then buried in the Ivry cemetary, but his remains were taken out of there after a few years, and now no one knows where they are. It’s…like…magic…