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article imageMissing Swiss twins traced to Corsica

By Ryan Mahon     Feb 9, 2011 in World
Marseille - Six-year old twin sisters, Alessia and Livia, alone since at least Feb 3, after their father apparently committed suicide by stepping in front of high speed train in Italy, have been traced to Corsica.
Matthias Schepp, a 43 year-old Canadian-born father, absconded with his daughters from their home in Saint-Sulpice, Switzerland on January 30. Schepp was dropping the girls off after a weekend visit, but apparently changed his mind about returning them to their mother’s care. The following day, in France, he sent a post card to his wife from Marseille. Schepp separated from his wife in August of 2010. On the card he pleaded that he was desperate and could not live without the girls. These events may have been triggered by his wife’s recent request for a divorce. From France, he traveled deep into southern Italy, where he apparently committed suicide Feb 3 on the tracks near the station in Cerignola.
On Feb 5, Interpol issued an international alert for the girls. This triggered world wide media alerts including in the UK, Switzerland, France, and Italy. Because the kidnapping was originally reported in Switzerland, authorities there have taken the lead in the investigation, but involved law enforcement in France and Italy, where they are following up on reported sightings of the twins. In addition, Italian citizens formed volunteer groups and conducted sweep searches of the town where their father was found dead, as well as searches of wells (as reported earlier on DJ). The Interpol alert, containing a physical description of the girls, as well as photographs, is circulated to 188 countries, and is coded yellow, indicating it pertains to missing children.
Also on Feb 5 people in the town of St. Sulpice in western Switerland staged a march to show support for the search. They observed a moment of silence to show solidarity with the mother.
Today, Contra Costa Times reports that the prosecutor in Marseille, Jacques Dallest, confirmed that the girls did board a ferry with their father on January 31, bound for Propriano, Corsica. Since it has not yet been confirmed that the girls arrived with their father in Italy, Dallest said of the ferry trip, Either the father threw the girls overboard during the trip from Marseille to Propriano, or he got off with them and something happened on the way back and he was able to get rid of them before killing himself in Italy. Dallest reportedly, “fears the worst.” Typically, the longer children are missing, the less likely it is that they will be found alive.
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