KEY POINTS

  • Police fatally shot a 32-year-old French man suspected of beheading and partially eating a missing boy
  • The decapitated head of the 13-year-old victim was found in a bucket in the man's apartment 
  • The man was known for his acts of violence and his psychiatric problems

Police in France fatally shot a 32-year-old man who was suspected of decapitating and partially eating a missing teenage boy, a prosecutor said Monday.

The head of the 13-year-old victim, identified as Romain, was found inside a bucket in the alleged killer's rented apartment in the southern French town of Tarascon Sunday, the New York Post reported, citing public prosecutor Laurent Gumbau.

Romain would have observed his 14th birthday next Sunday, according to a report by French newspaper Midi Libre.

The suspected killer, identified by the outlet as Arthur, was known for acts of violence and his psychiatric problems. He had attempted to flee through the rooftops when authorities entered his building, but he was shot and killed at a dead end by a security assistant.

According to Gumbau, an investigation into Romain's disappearance from a foster home in Marseille around 60 miles away from Tarascon led police to Arthur's address.

"The body found may be that of the minor," the prosecutor said.

He added that strips of flesh had been ripped from a shoulder, which sparked suspicions of cannibalism, reports said.

Gumbau, however, said it was "impossible at the current time to confirm the hypothesis of anthropophagy (cannibalism)."

The teen had reportedly been on his way from his foster home to visit his mom, who lived in the same street as the alleged killer, The Sun reported. He was with his best friend in Tarascon Friday night.

DNA testing was underway to verify the identity of the victim's mutilated body, Gumbau said. He added that investigations into the incident are still ongoing.

"We need to check whether the person shot is the murderer. And whether or not there was an accomplice," the prosecutor said.

Arthur had been convicted of acts of violence prior to his death, a report by French newspaper Libération said. The manager of a tobacco bar in Tarascon's town center who was familiar with the suspected killer described him as being a man of "extraordinary violence."

"As soon as he entered the bar, he would come into conflict with everyone. Sometimes I had to intervene to avoid fights" the unnamed man said.

He continued, "He scared me, he had black eyes. It was darkness personified. He had neither a job nor a friend. He was a lonely man."

Arthur had been sentenced to two years in prison in 2020, including one year suspended, as per Midi Libre. His most recent arrest was on July 10 where he was placed under duress following reports from residents.

police-line-3953745_1920 Representation. A 32-year-old man, identified as Arthur, was fatally shot by police after he was suspected of beheading and partially eating a missing 13-year-old boy named Romain. Photo: Pixabay