“Mr. Prosecutor, we have a problem”: in La Grande-Motte, the fascinating enigma of the man who died twice

“Mr. Prosecutor, we have a problem”: in La Grande-Motte, the fascinating enigma of the man who died twice

Qui était cet homme qui se faisait appeler Alain Champy, photographié ici il y a une vingtaine d'années ?

On July 24, 2019, Alain Champy, 69, died in his apartment in Grande-Motte. But when the civil registry declared his death at the town hall of his place of birth, there was shock: Alain Champy had already died in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, two years earlier, on October 23, 2017. Investigation into a incredible double life.

"Mr. the prosecutor, we have a problem". Among the tens of thousands of disappearances reported each year in France, the vast majority are not suspicious for the police. Multiple adolescent runaways, quickly resolved in nine out of ten cases, adults who want to change their lives and have every right to do so. But some cases can justify an investigation. Like in 2019, when the Grande-Motte civil status service contacted the Montpellier public prosecutor's office, faced with a completely unprecedented situation.

There was nothing suspicious about the death, and yet…

On July 24, Alain Champy, 69, who had lived in Montpellier for a long time, was found dead in his apartment on rue Frédéric Mistral. The death, which is not suspicious, was reported by the Hérault station, as required by law, to the town hall of his place of birth, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines).

But here it is: "Alain Champy is already dead, two years ago" we answer in Saint-Germain, specifying that the deceased was cremated.

Two deaths, only one name and a host of questions: the prosecution seizes the criminal brigade of the SRPJ of Montpellier."It's a movie script" sighs one of the investigators. First task: determine  which of the two deaths was the real Alain Champy.

A night owl DJ in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The ambiguity is quickly dispelled: the real Alain Champy seems to be the first to die. In his youth, he was a disc jockey ;au Royal Henri, a historic nightclub in Saint-Germain, led a night owl's life, sometimes alcoholic, and then lost several times for his identity papers. Did they fall into the wrong hands ? One certainty: he had no known link with Montpellier or Grande-Motte.

So who is the individual who lived with a name that was not his own ? The investigators are motivated: the one who did this&nbsp ;necessarily had something serious to hide or escape. A criminal wanted for a crime ? An escapee ? The autopsy, on August 2, 2019, does not help them in any way: no tattoo, scar or prosthesis could help with his identification. And unknown fingerprints on file.

He said he was a newspaper deliverer at Midi Libre

So they question the friends of this man who appeared in Hérault in the summer of 1981. He was then nicknamed “the solitary gypsy”, because he lived in his car, a Simca, slept on the Grande-Motte beach, and got by… calling himself a delivery man for Midi Libre. Impossible to verify: the archives of our newspaper have kept no trace of him.

However, it was that summer, on the beach of Grand Travers, that he met Mireille, a rich divorced pharmacist,  nbsp;with whom he lived for more than thirty years, until the latter's death in 2014. According to Mireille's family, the couple spent several years in Gabon, where she owned a pharmacy, and returned to France in 1988. With which passport ? Mystery. They then lived at the Rivoli, a posh building in Montpellier, overlooking the Esplanade, a stone's throw from the Comédie.

Poker and PMU player

A poker and PMU player, Alain has lived his entire life off Mireille, without ever working. How did the tax or social administrations play the role ? A member of Mireille's family, who took care of Alain at the end of his life, only understood a few weeks before his death why the latter always refused to marry him. & quot;He had an aversion to paperwork, that's understandable" he tells Midi Libre

"They had kept very expensive private medical insurance since their life in Gabon. It was when he terminated the contract that the problems arose. When I took the steps for him at Social Security, I came across someone else. And then the wife of the real Alain Champy called me one day, because reimbursements for her husband were arriving at someone else's house. It was two or three months before his death, and the man I always called Alain told me that it was him, the one who was on his identity card. He had one, old, made of cardboard, with a black and white photo, but also a modern one, obtained in the 2000s, I don't know how."

Arrived from Spain to Paris to join his family

So who was he really ? "It's not very clear. He gave me a first name that I forgot, and told me that he had arrived from Spain to Paris to join his family in the years 70, and that he sold vacuum cleaners door to door."

According to another source collected by the PJ, the fake Alain Champy was mainly a burglar. "One of the thefts went wrong, the rest of the team got caught, and to avoid reprisals from their colleagues who might have thought that' ;#39;he had wavered, he descended on Montpellier."

An investigation now classified

A green light with papers either stolen or handed over by a forger. "Maybe it wasn't him in the black and white photo on the old ID card" says our witness. " With Mireille's money, he never had to work, and that's how he got through it. He had no salary, he was unknown about taxes, and was lucky to meet a rich woman who supported him all his life."

The PJ investigation is now closed without further action: we will probably never know the real name of Alain Champy, the # 39;man who died twice.

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