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4 found shot dead around UK car in French Alps

Thursday, September 06, 2012    

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PARIS, France (AP) — Four people were found shot to death on a forest road in the French Alps yesterday, and their bodies left in and near a car with British licence plates, authorities said. A girl discovered at the site with bullet wounds was hospitalised.

Police combed the wooded hills around the village of Chevaline into the night in search of possible perpetrators. Forensic experts were heading to the site where a startled cyclist came across the corpses during a leisure ride.

Two of the victims were women, two men, police said. But their identities and nationalities are unclear. The British Foreign Office said it was aware of reports of the incident and was looking into it.

The girl was in critical condition last night in a nearby hospital, said an official with the gendarme service for the Haute-Savoie region. The official was not authorised to be publicly named. The gendarme service -- a kind of police force -- had initially said that she died.

A cyclist on the rugged road discovered the bodies and the girl in the afternoon and alerted emergency authorities, Prosecutor Eric Maillaud said.

Three bodies were found in a BMW sports utility vehicle registered in Britain -- a male driver and two women in the back seat, Maillaud said. The body of a male cyclist was found nearby, and the wounded girl was found near the vehicle. A large number of bullet casings were scattered around the car.

About 60 officers fanned out in the forest to search for possible perpetrators, a gendarme captain at the site said on French television.

Autopsies are planned for today or tomorrow, the prosecutor said.

The bodies were found in an area in the foothills of the Alps known for its springs and waterfalls, not far from Lake Annecy.

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