What we know about the disappearance of Éric Foray, whose skull was found in Vercors

The discovery of the skull of Eric Foray, who disappeared in 2016, at Vercors is a “major development” in the investigation, according to prosecutor Valence.

More than six years after the disappearance of 47-year-old Eric Foray in 2016, his skull was found in Vercors, his lawyers told BFMTV on Wednesday, confirming information from Dauphine Liberty.

Her 2016 disappearance at the Drôme was one of hundreds of files that were cross-examined to detect possible involvement by Nordahl Lelandais. Completely suspended for several years, the investigation was able to be relaunched.

• Go shopping in 2016

Éric Foray, a 1m90, 47-year-old man, with short hair and athletic appearance, disappeared on 16 September 2016 at around 12:30 pm when he was out to buy bread in Chatuzange-Le-Goubet, on the Drôme. He had left his house minutes earlier in a beige/gold Suzuki.

Initial investigations have directed prosecutors to open a judicial inquiry into the kidnapping and forced confinement. The investigation was carried out by the “cold cases” group of the Grenoble research section, supported by the Drôme gendarmerie group, according to the same source.

• The efforts of his colleagues and the calling of witnesses

At that time, his partner, Régis Pique, had repeatedly asked witnesses in the area and on social networks to find Éric Foray – to no avail. Despite a search, the man and his vehicle have not been found.

Moreover, the calling of witnesses is still in the process regarding this vehicle. This is a gold-coloured Suzuki Grand Vitara with registration number EA-858-RS.

However, almost two years later, there was a twist in the case. On 11 June 2018, the gendarmerie launched another call for witnesses as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Eric Foray and a young woman, Nelly Balmain in August 2011, linking him to a killer, well known in the media.

• Nordhal Lelandais Line

Éric Foray’s attorney, Maître Boulloud, filed a complaint against X in 2018 for sequestration, with civil action, to “verify whether there was no relationship” between Éric Foray and Nordahl Lelandais – condemned for eternity for the murder of little Maëlys – he later explained to BFMTV.

In 2018, Ariane’s cell, responsible for reopening many cold cases remembering Nordahl Lelandais’ profile, has forged a link between Éric Foray and him: the missing person’s last name appears in the ex-soldier’s address book.

It was actually a friend of Lelandais, who had been overheard and had nothing to do with Eric Foray, according to a source close to the investigation. Therefore, the track has been disbanded.

“There is nothing at this stage in the dossier that would allow him to be linked to Nordahl Lelandais. However, that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done, hence the launch of two subpoenas. What we are looking for are small details that will make a difference”, explained Gen. Jean-Philippe Lecouffe, at the time the deputy director of the judicial police of the general briefing of the national gendarmerie.

• Discovery of skulls revived the case?

The day after the discovery of the skull at Vercors, the prosecutor of the Republic of Valence, Laurent de Caigny, stated in a press release: “Eric Foray’s cause of death has yet to be discovered, as with the rest of his remains. . For the moment, no hypotheses have been ruled out, including those leading to murder intended.”

He considered the discovery and formal identification of the skull through “forensic analysis” to be a “major development” in the investigation. However, the circumstances of the discovery of the skull have not yet been determined.

“With the additional indictment dated January 3, 2023, the Valence prosecutor’s office extended referrals to the investigating judge for qualifications of homicide, so that he now continues to describe the circumstances, if any, of the death penalty” of missing persons, said Laurent de Caigny.

“This discovery, as sad as it is, confirms what we feared. Now we need to know more about where the skull was found (…) to find out if we are on a confirmed homicide”, said Bernard Valézy, national vice president of ARPD (Rescue and Search for Missing Persons), which primarily supports Régis Pique, companion of Eric Foray.

The Gendarmerie indicated this Wednesday that “if there is any information relating to the disappearance, death of Éric Foray or the location of his vehicle”, anyone can contact him on

Alexandra Gomez with Théo Putavy and AFP

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