Witness makes unconfirmed report girls seen in Italy day father died
Update 13:25 Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) - French authorities say Wednesday morning 9 February that missing Swiss twins Alessia and Livia Schepp were seen on the ferry to Corsica 31 January. The information has not yet been confirmed by Vaud police, who are leading the three-country investigation, but it appears the search for the girls may now intensify in and around Corsica.
An Italian witness has come forward to say she saw the father and his daughters in Cerignola, the town where the father committed suicide, the day of his death. Italian newspapers carry an interview with a bar/cafe owner in the town who says the father asked her if his daughters could use the toilets. Video camera footage reportedly shows him, but not the girls, although she says they, too, were there. If police accept her as a credible witness, it would be the first time they were seen in Italy.
French public defender Jacques Dallest told a Wednesday morning press conference in Marseille that witnesses have now come forth who say they heard and saw the girls: the woman with the cabin next door to the trio heard them in their room and later saw the girls in the ferry’s play area. She has positively identified one of them.
The person who saw them Tuesday morning, getting off the ferry, has been identified as an elderly man who couldn’t see the girls clearly, but who saw a man and two children.
Vaud police, at a Tuesday evening press conference, stated that the father has never been been violent, correcting information that has appeared in some media reports. “There wasn’t any reason to think the lives of his daughters were at risk,” before the girls disappeared, said Jean-Christophe Sauterel, head of press and communications for the Vaud Cantonal Police.
The girls’ uncle, who has been talking to media from outside the mother’s home in St Sulpice, has said he will no longer be available to the press.
Reminder, girls’ appearance: when last seen in St Sulpice the two blond six-year-olds, who wear titanium-rimmed glasses, orange and bordeaux were dressed as follows: Alessia was in blue jeans, with a striped T-shirt and white jacket, Livia had a purple ski jacket and was wearing pink and white sports shoes.