A dramatic affair with the allure of a thriller. In January 2009, the body of Jacques Heusèle, an insurer from Arras, in the Pas-de-Calais, was found in the Sambre, near Charleroi, in Belgium. For thirteen years, the family has been fighting to find out the exact circumstances of his death, because multiple gray areas still hang over this death. And justice does not seem to be in a hurry to move forward.
“It’s a real procedural gymkhana to find the truth,” says Me Maxime Moulin, lawyer for the Heusèle family. Thus two investigations are underway: one, piloted in Béthune, concerns the case itself and the other, directed in Lille, has been open for more than five years for “false public writing”. “Three witnesses interviewed as part of the investigation refute their remarks and do not recognize their signature”, specifies Arnaud Heusèle, the son of the deceased.
A film by Claude Chabrol
Because since the disappearance of Jacques Heusèle, on November 17, 2008, disturbing facts follow one another. In his personal notebooks, the man, 59 years old at the time of his death, recounts in detail an underworld life which includes political meetings, but also with adolescent girls, in unusual places. “You have all the ingredients of a Claude Chabrol film with a notable who leads a parallel life where politics and morality intermingle”, sums up Me Maxime Moulin.
In addition, other elements frankly sow doubt. The victim’s watch, which was not waterproof, displays the date of November 21, four days after his disappearance on November 17. The page of this date has also been torn from his diary. The rear window of his car, abandoned under a bridge near the river, was ajar, suggesting the action of a passenger. Jacques Heusèle was also discovered with a backpack carrying a dumbbell, a word associated with first names of young girls and which he used in his diaries as a code.
Finally, his body was found 30 km from this car, managing to cross no less than eight locks. However, all these clues have never prevented the investigators from leaning towards the thesis of suicide or accident. “It took two years to fight with the law for the body to be autopsied,” adds Arnaud Heusèle, tired of this legal battle.
“Hundreds of thousands of euros missing”
After a dismissal and two dismissal orders in this case, the insistence of the Heusèle family still ends up paying off. In October 2019, the Douai investigative chamber, which supervises the work of the judges, orders additional investigations, but not on the financial aspect which seems, however, the crux of the plot.
As proof, the first investigation, carried out just after the disappearance of Jacques Heusèle, focused on an “aggravated breach of trust”. “It was a question of hundreds of thousands of missing euros which could have been embezzled, explains Arnaud Heusèle. My father made transfers every week to the account of an SCI [société civile immobilière]. Whose ? Mystery. But very quickly, justice refused to verify this account on the pretext that it is not useful for the manifestation of the truth. »
As a result, the investigations are at a standstill. “We are told that the complaint against the police for forgery is not progressing because the investigation is not closed, laments Maxime Moulin. And the survey blocks on the financial aspect which seems to us a crucial point. It’s like a ball full of little bits that you can’t put together. »