Syrian Migrant Arrested After Rape and Murder of Young French Mother

french police france
AP/Christophe Ena

A Syrian migrant was arrested in south-west France on Thursday on suspicion of rape and murder after the body of a 24-year-old young mother was discovered on Sunday.

The body of the woman, identified as Johanna Blanes, was found in a small pedestrian tunnel near the commune of Mont-de-Marsan at around 6 am, hours after she had left a nightclub to return to where she was staying in Saint-Pierre-du-Mont, broadcaster RTL reports.

According to the broadcaster, the 24-year-old also suffered from a slight mental disability and had to be placed under guardianship. The disability also meant that she lost custody of her 19-month-old son.

Sources close to the investigation claim that Ms Blanes showed signs of strangulation and that she had been beaten in both the head and the neck. The source also added that the victim was likely raped before she was killed.

A friend of the victim claimed that the last time she had heard anything from the 24-year-old was at 4:40 am, less than an hour and a half before her body was discovered.

Several more suspects were later arrested on Thursday in connection with the murder according to Olivier Janson, the prosecutor of Mont-de-Marsan. Janson added that an investigation for voluntary homicide was also opened by the police in Mont-De-Marsan and the judicial police of Bordeaux.

The case bears a striking similarity to that of 19-year-old German student Maria Ladenburger who was raped and murder by Afghan migrant Hussein Khavari in 2017 in Freiburg.

Khavari was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder in 2018 with presiding judge Kathrin Schenk noting the migrant’s “lack of empathy”.

The murder of Ms Blanes also comes only a month after an illegal Pakistani migrant was arrested in Valenton for the murder of a 23-year-old female student who was found dead in the trunk of her car.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.