May 22, 2022

Maëlys case: the poignant testimony of the girl’s mother

While the trial of Nordahl Lelandais will open on Monday January 31 for the murder of little Maëlys, the girl’s mother confided in CNEWS.

Jennifer De Araujo wrote a book entitled “Maëlys” to pay tribute to her daughter, lamenting that in this affair, Nordahl Lelandais took up more space than the little girl.

In the book, she returns in particular to the last moments spent with Maëlys, during the wedding evening. A moment that she tells Noémie Schulz, journalist of the CNEWS police-justice service. During the evening, the little girl had come to taste the dessert on her mother’s lap. “I give him a kiss on the cheek and then I say ‘come on, go play, go have fun’. This is the last time I see her, ”says Jennifer De Araujo.

And to underline: “If we knew all that, we would keep her close to us. Unfortunately, we can’t foresee everything”, in particular “that there is a predator in the room, which is prowling”.

The mother is also convinced that her daughter did not get into Nordahl Lelandais’ car of her own free will. A few weeks earlier, during a family vacation in Portugal, an incident marked the family. The parents were very scared after briefly losing sight of Maëlys. They had then explained to the little girl that she should always tell them where she is going and that she should not follow just anyone.

“I told him: ‘You shouldn’t ride with people, even those who say they know me. You should never go with them. You need to tell me where you’re going. You should never ride with strangers,’” explains Jennifer De Araujo.

Another ambiguous element, the mother had explained to her daughter that if someone bothered her, she had to scratch him. “Maybe she scratched him because he had scratches that day,” she says. Nordahl Lelandais, assured his side that his marks had been caused by gardening.

“A monster”

Jennifer De Auraujo also looks back on the six months that separated the disappearance of Maëlys and the discovery of her remains: “We are waiting. We say to ourselves ‘Why is it so long, why does he not say’. We are frustrated, we feel helpless because he does not speak. “It’s unbearable. We always have a little hope. We say to ourselves that it cannot happen, it is not possible that we will never see her again, ”she continues.

While the trial will open in a few days, the mother is not afraid to see Nordahl Lelandais again. She had also spoken to him during a reenactment.

“When I saw where he had put him, I told him what I thought of him, that he was a monster and a pedophile, that he had left my daughter in the wild as a waste, that he was soulless,” she tells us.

The affair broke out in 2017 when Maëlys disappeared on the night of August 26 to 27 in the middle of a wedding party in Pont-de-Beauvoisin. Nordahl Lelandais was quickly suspected and indicted.

During the investigation, a DNA trace of Maëlys had been found in the trunk of his car. Additionally, CCTV footage showed the suspect leaving the wedding party with the little girl before returning later that night alone.

Six months after the disappearance, in February 2018, he finally confessed to killing the girl, saying it was an “accident”. He then led the investigators to the remains of Maëlys, abandoned in the mountains.

Nordahl Lelandais will be tried before the assizes of Isère for “murder preceded by kidnapping and forcible confinement”.

In addition to the Maëlys case, the former soldier was also sentenced to twenty years in prison for the murder of Corporal Arthur Noyer. He is also referred to justice for “offenses of sexual assault on two minor cousins ​​aged 15 and for possession and recording of child pornography images”.