Alps murder victims shot twice in head, police say

A French-British investigation continued Saturday into a mysterious shooting rampage in the French Alps that left four adults dead and a seven-year-old girl hospitalized with bullet wounds and skull fractures.
British police forensic officers are seen outside the home of Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, Britain, during investigations into the death of four people shot dead in the French Alps. (Steve Parsons/Associated Press )

New details were coming to light Saturday on the deaths of four people in a mysterious shooting rampage in the French Alps that has sparked a joint French-British investigation.

Authorities have identified the dead as mechanical design engineer Saad al Hilli and his wife, Ikbal. The British-Iraqi couple were killed while vacationing in the French Alps near the town of Annecy.

The couple was found dead in their car along with an older woman, believed to be a relative.

The couple's four-year-old daughter Zeena, survived unhurt by hiding under her mother's skirt.

A seven-year-old daughter, Zaina, also survived after being shot in the shoulder and beaten. She remained in a medically induced coma in hospital, under close police guard.

French cyclist caught in shooting

The fourth person killed in the shooting rampage was French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, who authorities suspect was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Post mortem results show that each of the victims was shot several times, including twice in the head, Eric Maillaud, the French prosecutor in Annecy said.

At least 25 automatic handgun rounds were fired at the car, police said.

Maillaud said relatives of the dead have arrived in France to help care for the two young sisters, but he would not identify them or say how many there were.

French police say they have spoken to the four year old who  spent eight hours hiding in the car with the bodies following the attack.

"Despite her young age she is said to have identified her family and described the fury and terror of what happened," the CBC's Dominic Valitis reported Saturday.

Search of home in London suburb

Meanwhile, a French-British investigation continued Saturday with three French investigators arriving in Britain to work with British authorities in a search of Saad al-Hilli's home in  the village in the London suburb of Claygate.

"By searching al-Hilli's home, officers hope to gather background information about the 50-year-old," Valitis said.

Outside the home, two female officers carried boxes with equipment and evidence bags into an investigation tent and police wore white crime-scene overalls as they prepared to conduct the search.

Police are said to be following several lines of inquiry, among them questions about whether a family dispute over money led to the shooting.