Authorities have arrested French national Thierry Ascione in Indonesia after 20 years on the run.
He was arrested after a shipwreck last October.
Thierry Ascione is a defendant in the double murder case of two French restaurant owners in Guatemala. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia.
According to News-in 24, Ascione was arrested after his ship was damaged by a storm. His escape ended in the Talaud Islands, Indonesia.
The 62-year-old man and a compatriot had to dock on 3rd October 2021 in the Talaud Islands and seek help to repair their sailboat. Police then came to the ship and found the fugitive was without a passport.
The two men were arrested and transferred to the immigration authorities. They are now in the city of Manado, North Sulawesi.
Novly TN Momongan, immigration official for the Sangihe Islands, confirmed the detention of the two French nationals. He said the fugitives were trying to hide their identity by claiming that their passports were stolen in the Philippines.
“The French embassy has issued a request for legal assistance for the arrest of Thiery Ascione, who is on Interpol’s red list in connection with a murder case,” the official said.
Convicted in 2001
Thierry Ascione was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 in France. He is thought to be behind the murder of several French restaurateurs, Bernard and Antoinette Béreaud, in Guatemala in December 1991.
He quickly ran away after the crime. Ascione was arrested at Paris’ Roissy airport in 1995. He was then released on parole in 2000 but disappeared six months before the start of his trial. The Paris Assize Court sentenced him to life imprisonment in absentia.
Since then, he has lived in several countries, most recently in the Philippines. He tried to sail to New Caledonia for medical treatment but his two-decade life on the run ended in Indonesia.
Before being caught in a murder case, Thierry Ascione was sentenced to seven years in prison in 1983. He was released in 1989 and then left for Latin America, travelling in Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil.
He then made his way to Guatemala in the fall of 1991. He briefly did business with the military junta, selling trucks in Guatemala.
It was there that he knew Jean-Philippe Bernard, the prime suspect in the double homicide, whom he met at the latter’s restaurant. Bernard Béreaud and his wife often dined with him.
Ascione left Guatemala City, right after a double murder in January 1992. He went to Miami.
Previously, Ascione had emptied the bank accounts of the victims, then left for Asia. He subsequently changed identities several times by stealing tourist passports.